Former Sacramento Kings teammate adapts to seeing Tyreke Evans in another uniform

by Jonathan Santiago & Aaron Fischman

Tyreke Evans and Pelicans coach Monty Williams (Photo: Jonathan Santiago)

Tyreke Evans spent the first four years of his NBA career in a Sacramento Kings uniform.  In his fifth NBA season, he’s now a donning navy blue and gold as a member of the New Orleans Pelicans.

Seeing the 2010 Rookie of the Year in a new uniform is still a little odd for former teammate Jason Thompson.  Though they’ve matched up against each other twice this season, playing against Evans in an NBA arena and not on the practice court is still something that’s different for Thompson.

“It’s a little weird seeing him in another jersey,” Thompson said following Kings shootaround this morning. “We obviously played them earlier in the season. It was weird then. You kind of get used it to now, especially watching some games early on in the season when you see him in another jersey. It’s kind of surreal, but guys move on. That’s part of the league and I’m happy for him.”

In Evans’ first game back in Sacramento in December, the 24-year-old swingman recorded a game-high 25 points, 12 assists and six rebounds.  He had no trouble finding holes in the Kings’ defense and attacked the rim at will, scoring all of his points at the basket.  For Thompson, it was not a surprise to see Evans come out and play one of his best games of the season against his former team.

“Well you’re gonna have emotion, especially when you have a certain connection with the team and an organization,” the Kings starting power forward said. “He got drafted here. He won rookie of the year here, so you’re going to have certain type of emotions. How many guys that have won rookie of the year are still with that team years later? Usually that doesn’t happen that way, but it’s the business of basketball.”

Thompson looks back fondly at his time playing with Evans.  He says they still stay in touch even though they’re no longer teammates.  Both players are east coast guys, with Evans hailing from Pennsylvania and Thompson coming from New Jersey.

“We both have the personalities of still keeping in contact,” Thompson said. “And then when we see each other in places, we chill, and say what’s up with each other. He’s from Chester and I stay in Philly during the offseason, so I’m sure I’ll see him during the offseason as well.”

Thompson and the Kings play host to Evans and the Pelicans later tonight at Sleep Train Arena.  Tip off is at 7 pm.

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About: Jonathan Santiago

Jonathan Santiago serves Cowbell Kingdom as senior editor specializing in writing, podcasting and video production. He also handles the majority of CK’s day-to-day beat coverage of the Kings.