A few weeks ago, Shams Charania of The Athletic reported that the Bucks would meet and work out former NBA wing Tyreke Evans, who the league reinstated after a nearly three-year drug violation on February 14th. As it turns out, Milwaukee indeed has interest in his services:
Sources: Former Rookie of the Year Tyreke Evans is signing a contract in the NBA G League and is expected to join Milwaukee’s affiliate, the Wisconsin Herd, for evaluation toward a potential deal with the Bucks.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) March 15, 2022
If you missed it yesterday, recently-signed wing DeAndre’ Bembry tore both the ACL and MCL in his right knee on Saturday evening. Needless to say, Bembry will not factor into the Bucks’ season and likely will not play well into the 2022–23 season, if he even plays at all. In fact, he may not be long for the Bucks’ roster, with his contract expiring after the season’s end.
While we wait to see whether or not Milwaukee will waive Bembry, the team will have a look at Evans up in Oshkosh in the hopes of re-adding depth on the perimeter. The Herd have 8 regular-season games left and I’d imagine the Bucks will want him to see serious minutes immediately, with their next game on Wednesday.
Evans’ 10-year pro career began notably with the Sacramento Kings, who drafted him 4th overall in 2009 out of Memphis, three picks ahead of Stephen Curry. As poorly as that decision ended up, the early returns were smashing for Sacramento as Evans won the 2010 Rookie of the Year behind a 20.1 PPG/5.8 APG/4.3 RPG effort over 72 games, topping Curry and Bucks (In 6) favorite Brandon Jennings.
He never quite lived up to that promise, however, and his rookie year still stands as his best season from a scoring perspective. After three more seasons in Sactown, the Kings traded him to New Orleans in a sign-and-trade for Greivis Vásquez (*shudder*) and a couple of second-round picks. Fun fact: one of those picks ended up in Milwaukee, who used it to draft Malcolm Brogdon.
From there, he spent three years and change in The Big Easy, teaming up with Bucks guard Jrue Holiday on some mostly bad Pelicans teams. He settled in as a 15–16 PPG scorer on mediocre-at-best efficiency, never shooting very well from deep but contributing as a passer and good rebounder for his position. Though he copped a fair bit of steals, he was never a notably good defender. In 2017, he ended up back in Sacramento as part of the DeMarcus Cousins trade (boy, a lot of former Bucks in here) before becoming a free agent.
That off-season, Evans signed with the Grizzlies, returning to the FedEx Forum floor on which he’d competed in college. There he had perhaps his best overall season with 19.4 PPG, 5.1 RPG, and 5.2 APG on .452/.399/.785 shooting in 52 games, starting 32. He parlayed that into a one-year, $12.4m deal with the Pacers. Not only did he struggle mightily in Indy (shooting just 38.9% from the field), he was dismissed and disqualified from the NBA after the season for violating the league’s anti-drug program, much like former Buck O.J. Mayo was in 2016. These bans last two years and are historically for drugs of abuse, not performance-enhancing drugs or marijuana.
Presumably, Evans received treatment during this time and popped back up in NBA news in December, training with John Wall and Michael Beasley (another former Buck!) in hopes of reinstatement. That process took some time, but one month ago today he received clearance to re-join the league. He also worked out with the Warriors last week but today, it appears he is on his way to the Wisconsin Herd.
Does Evans have anything left in the tank? After nearly three years away from organized basketball in any form (he did not play overseas during his suspension), he apparently is in decent enough shape for G League contests. Plenty of former NBA starters—notably Isaiah Thomas—put up huge numbers while waiting for a 10-day contract and another chance, and perhaps Evans can do the same. However, that doesn’t correlate at all to the big leagues, and I’m not going to read much into anything considering Evans logged zero actual game action since spring 2019.
Regardless of what does or doesn’t happen with Bembry, Milwaukee has an open spot on their 15-man roster (Evans is not eligible for a two-way given his NBA experience) so they would not need to make a move to accommodate a 10-day trial for Evans. It doesn’t look likely at all that he’ll meaningfully contribute to the Bucks this season, but there’s no harm in taking a flier, especially when you can check him out in the G League first.