Why is Evan Fournier still on the New York Knicks’ roster? That’s a question many fans have asked over the past couple of months (and weeks). With preseason underway and the regular season slated to start in less than two weeks, the 30-year-old guard is entering his third season with the Knicks.
Fournier publicly said he wants to perform so well in practice that Tom Thibodeau will be forced to play him, but if that’s his true hope, he’ll be disappointed. New York has a guard-heavy roster, and with the offseason addition of Donte DiVincenzo, Fournier’s chances of rejoining the rotation have dropped even further.
He’s on an expiring $18.9 million contract, which is significant for the Knicks because it can be used to match salary in a trade for a star. If the right star is unavailable before the deadline, the front office may pivot and look into acquiring another player.
New York Post’s Stefan Bondy reported on Oct. 7 that, according to a source, the Knicks are “monitoring three targets.” Which of those targets should the front office seriously consider trading for if the moment presents itself?
Knicks reportedly monitoring three star trade targets entering 2023-24
3: Karl-Anthony Towns
Bondy nailed it when he wrote that out of the three reported targets, Karl-Anthony Towns would be “the most feasible in-season deal.” In his eight seasons in Minnesota, the team has made it to the playoffs three times, all of which were first-round exits. The Timberwolves have made back-to-back postseason trips but won only three out of eight games.
To state the obvious, Towns is a CAA client. Over the past year, New York traded for Josh Hart (CAA) and signed Donte DiVincenzo in free agency (CAA). Towns has constantly been linked to the Knicks, so it makes sense that he’s a player the front office is reportedly monitoring.
The 27-year-old has four years left on his contract, including a $61.6 million player option in 2027-28. The four-year supermax extension Towns signed last offseason kicks in at the start of 2024-25.
Towns was limited to 29 regular season games in 2022-23 because of a calf injury, but in 2021-22, he averaged 24.6 points, 9.8 rebounds, and 3.6 assists, shooting 52.9% from the field and 41% from three in 74 games. There’s no use in arguing that those aren’t impressive numbers, but an argument worth having is whether or not he’s the star New York has been waiting on.
He isn’t a notable playoff performer, has a concerning injury history, and is owed a lot of money. The existing connections are there, but would it really be worth it to give up a combination of draft assets and young players for Towns? No thanks!