Sixers a ‘frontrunner' to Land Perimeter Scorer

The Sixers are evidently still keen on adding a scorer off the bench.

They're one of three teams considered to be "frontrunners" for Memphis Grizzlies guard and Chester native Tyreke Evans, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

It was reported last week that the Grizzlies were seeking a first-round pick in exchange for Evans. For 2018, the Sixers hold their own first-round pick and another first-rounder via the Los Angeles Lakers. That's the pick included in the Markelle Fultz trade that goes to the Boston Celtics in 2018 if it falls between Nos. 2-5. 

Speaking of Fultz, it's fair to wonder if the Sixers are worried that the No. 1 overall pick may not be able to contribute this season. Evans could provide what the team was hoping Fultz would when they traded up to acquire the University of Washington star. Evans is nursing an injury of his own (left arm), but the Grizzlies are apparently holding him out for the purpose of trading him. 

Evans, 28, is having arguably the best - and certainly most efficient - season of his NBA career. He's averaging 19.5 points per game, the highest mark since he averaged 20.1 points on his way to winning Rookie of the Year back in 2009-10. He's shooting 46 percent from the field and has vastly improved his outside shot. He's shooting a career-high 39 percent on a career-high 5.4 attempts from behind the arc this season. His ability to create his own shot off the dribble is what will appeal most to the Sixers.

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Evans signed a one-year, $3.29 million deal with Memphis this past offseason, making him a pending free agent. With the Grizzlies buried in the standings, they'll be looking to acquire an asset before Evans walks. What can the Sixers offer? 

Their own first-round pick is a possibility. That pick will likely fall somewhere in the late teens or early-20s depending on how strong of a second-half push the Sixers make. If the Grizzlies insist on a first-rounder, the Sixers could counter by making Memphis eat the last year and a half of Jerryd Bayless' three-year, $27 million deal. But for that to work, the Sixers would have to eat another Grizzlies contract back to make the money work. Someone like Ben McLemore, who signed a two-year, $10.6 million contract, should do it.

There is also the possibility that Memphis could be interested in one of the Sixers' current young bench players like Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot or Richaun Holmes. A first-round pick in 2016, Luwawu-Cabarrot has flashed at times for the Sixers, but with Fultz eventually coming back and Justin Anderson emerging, minutes may be hard to come by for TLC. Meanwhile, Holmes has shown plenty of promise since being drafted in the second round out of Bowling Green but has struggled to find a role in Brett Brown's rotation behind Joel Embiid and veteran Amir Johnson.

With the NBA trade deadline approaching Thursday, it's clear that the Sixers want to add a player like Evans. What's not clear is what they'd be willing to give up for a half-season rental.

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