The Toronto Raptors and Philadelphia 76ers have completed the first trade of what is being widely forecast as an active month for NBA transactions by agreeing to swap sharpshooting guard Jason Kapono for rebounding specialist Reggie Evans.
The Sixers targeted Kapono -- two-time winner of the NBA's Long Distance Shootout at All-Star Weekend and a career 45.4 percent marksman from 3-point range -- to address their well-chronicled lack of outside shooting since dealing Kyle Korver to Utah in December 2007.
The Raptors, meanwhile, potentially address two needs with the trade, adding Evans' physicality to a roster short on that quality last season and creating a bit of extra salary-cap space for a crucial summer before Chris Bosh becomes an unrestricted free agent in July 2010.
Although the league's salary-cap figure for next season won't be established until July, Toronto expects to have the ability to clear nearly $9 million in cap space this offseason, with that figure potentially climbing to $10 million if the Raptors don't retain low-cost free agents Quincy Douby and Patrick O'Bryant.
Bosh told ESPN.com in April and reiterated last week that he will pass on Toronto's offer of a contract extension this summer, preferring to wait for the widely anticipated free-agent bonanza of 2010. But the Raptors still face an immediate decision on Shawn Marion -- who is an unrestricted free agent this summer after being acquired by Toronto in February in exchange for Jermaine O'Neal -- as they try to rebound from a disappointing 33-49 season that has raised questions about their ability to convince Bosh to stay.
"Reggie Evans will certainly add an element of toughness to our team," Raptors president Bryan Colangelo said in a statement Tuesday. "He has very good rebounding and defensive instincts, addressing two areas where we have underperformed."
Evans has ranked in the league's top 10 in rebounds per 48 minutes in each of the past six seasons. He finished seventh in the NBA in that category last season (15.3 rebounds per 48 minutes) and led the league in 2006-07 at 19.7.
Kapono won the NBA's 3-point shooting contest in 2007 and 2008 and, with his .454 success rate, is tied with Steve Kerr for the highest career 3-point shooting percentage in league history. But the acquisition does come at a slight cost for the Sixers, since Kapono's contract is $2.8 million richer than Evans' deal over the next two seasons.
"We are very excited to add one of the league's most prolific 3-point shooters in Jason Kapono," Sixers general manager Ed Stefanski said. "We feel that this move addresses our goal of improving our shooting from the perimeter."
Although most deals this month are more likely to happen closer to the June 25 draft, high activity is being projected by numerous GMs, with several teams shopping draft picks and long-term contracts in hopes of reducing payroll.
Marc Stein is a senior NBA writer for ESPN.com