NEW YORK -- Reggie Evans, who was traded to the Sacramento Kings along with Jason Terry in a deal that sent Marcus Thornton to Brooklyn, says he holds no animosity toward the Nets, and wishes only the best for his former team moving forward.
“I wasn’t shocked by the trade,” Evans said Sunday. “I was surprised knowing it was Sacramento who wanted me, but I really wasn’t shocked about the trade. Like I told Billy [King], it’s never personal, it’s always business, so I understand.
“I’m not one of those players that holds grudges or takes it personal when you get traded. It’s a business. At the end of the day, I’m still living out my dream, and that’s to play in the NBA. So that’s the best way to look at it.”
Evans said the hardest part has been being away from his family. His children go to school in the New York area and won’t be finished until June.
“I have four kids, and you know me, I’m into their lives,” Evans said. “Even when I’m not with them, I’m still on the phone talking to them or Skype-ing with them on the iPhone.”
Evans said the weirdest part about being back at Barclays Center was being in the visitors locker room -- a place he’d never been before. Evans said he’s going to miss his former teammates, whom he refers to as “brothers.” He plans on coming back and watching some Nets playoff games with his kids still in school.
Evans was one of many veterans on the Nets, but he’s become the elder statesman in Sacramento, both in age (33) and years of experience (12). He has embraced his role as a leader on the Kings, leading by example through his hard work and determination.
Last season, Evans started 56 games for the Nets and was a key contributor in the frontcourt, averaging 11.1 rebounds per game. But this season, he quickly fell out of the rotation playing under coach Jason Kidd.
“They didn’t wanna play me, so I couldn’t be mad about it, I couldn’t be bitter about it,” Evans said. “I just took it on the chin and supported my team and still was grinding.”
Evans said he never knew why he didn’t play, saying he never had a meeting with Kidd about it.
“I’m clueless, I don’t know,” said Evans, who felt like he could help the team if he was on the court.
“But it’s over with. It’s in the past. I’m in a whole new chapter in my life.”
Evans has thrived in Sacramento, averaging 7.3 points and 8.4 rebounds on 62.1 percent shooting in 21.1 minutes in his first seven games.
Evans was always supportive of Brook Lopez, serving as a mentor for the young center.
Lopez credits Evans for his development into an All-Star. Evans is hoping to have the same impact on DeMarcus Cousins.
“I expected a lot out of Brook, and I just always wanted him to know ‘You’re the best. You’re the best at your position. Nobody can stop you.’ I always wanted to put that in his ear. ‘You’re an All-Star.’ From day one, when I met Brook, I told him, ‘You’re an All-star.’ And he was an All-Star. And he was gonna be an All-Star this year [before he got hurt],” Evans said.
“Now I gotta carry that on to the big fella over here, but I think I left a big impact on Brook.”