If it weren’t for his comments over the summer and the FIBA World Cup, it’d be easy to forget that Evan Fournier still played for the New York Knicks. He played in only 27 regular season games in 2022-23 and remained on the bench for the entirety of the playoffs.
After the Knicks’ Game 6 loss to the Heat, Fournier, like many others, assumed it’d be the last time he suited up in orange and blue. Although the offseason was full of Fournier trade rumors, it came and went without the 30-year-old moving to a new team.
Before New York’s first preseason game on Monday, Fournier said he’s still hoping to be a regular face in Tom Thibodeau’s rotation.
"“I might be dreaming of stuff, but to me, I can help the team. Like I’m a good player. I can f—ing play,” Fournier said. “I bring stuff that this team doesn’t have, too. So, I have hope to play, to be honest. I have hope to play. Maybe I’m crazy, I don’t know. Maybe Thibs has already made up his mind and stuff, but my goal is to put him in a position where he has to think about playing me.”"
Fournier played his first Knicks game in a long time against the Celtics, his former team. He got off to a rough start, which included losing his dribble and being forced to jack up an airball to beat the shot clock, but he finished with 11 points on 3-of-7 shooting from deep.
Evan Fournier’s trade value is more important than his return to the rotation
The reality is that the preseason doesn’t matter, hence why Boston rested its five starters. Evan Fournier might’ve gotten a confidence boost from being productive in 21 minutes of play, but based on his above comments, he didn’t need much of a boost.
Fournier hasn’t fallen off. He’s right when he says he can help a team, but the question is, is that team the Knicks? Don’t forget about Donte DiVincenzo, the guard New York added to an already guard-heavy roster over the summer. His arrival should’ve erased any hope Fournier had about returning to the rotation.
Unless an injury occurs, Fournier won’t be a regular face in Thibodeau’s nine-man rotation, regardless of how well he performs in practice. That much was made clear last season. The Knicks are focused on their younger players like Quentin Grimes, who admittedly doesn’t have a consistent three-point shot but can guard the opposing team’s best player.
With the $18.9 million Fournier will make this season, the hope for the Knicks should be that the right star will become available so the disgruntled guard’s salary can be included in the package. He’ll likely hang around until that happens, or maybe the front office will find the right player to trade Fournier for. Regardless, he won’t start another season in New York after this year.