DETROIT (AP) – The Detroit Pistons signed Sacramento swingman Maurice Evans to a three-year, $4.5 million offer sheet Wednesday.

The Kings have seven days to match the offer to retain Evans, a restricted free agent. They might not because after signing Shareef Abdur-Rahim earlier this month, they were expected to let Evans and forward Darius Songaila leave. Detroit wants to add the 6-foot-5, 220-pound Evans because he would provide depth behind starting small forward Tayshaun Prince and shooting guard Richard Hamilton. He will compete with Carlos Delfino and Ronald Dupree for playing time.

, if Sacramento doesn’t match the offer.

The Pistons were interested in signing free agent Michael Finley and briefly considered adding free agent Latrell Sprewell. But Finley made it clear he didn’t want to play for the Pistons, and they appear to have decided to not sign Sprewell.

Evans, a solid defender, averaged 6.4 points, 3.1 rebounds and 19 minutes in 65 games, including 11 starts, and made similar contributions in the playoffs last season with the Kings. He scored a career-high 17 points on Feb. 13 at Boston, and had a career-high 14 rebounds the next month against Memphis.

Evans, who turns 27 on Nov. 8, began his career with the Minnesota Timberwolves during the 2001-02 season, playing 10 games for current Detroit coach Flip Saunders. After that brief stint in the NBA, he played in Europe before making Sacramento’s roster last season.

The Pistons signed Evans, who also was pursued by San Antonio, to an offer sheet one day after signing Dale Davis to a two-year, $7 million contract. They used part of their mid-level exception to sign Davis, keeping money available to offer Evans.

If Sacramento doesn’t match the offer, the Pistons will have 16 players under contract, including first-round pick Jason Maxiell and second-round selections Amir Johnson and Alex Acker. The new collective bargaining agreement expanded rosters from 12 to 14 players, but also allows them to assign players to the NBA Development League during their first two seasons.

AP-ES-08-24-05 1943EDT


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