As the Thursday trade deadline approaches, Knicks shooting guard Evan Fournier could be finding himself joining another team.
With the Knicks not having another home game until Saturday, Fournier’s time as a Knick in MSG may have run its course. In a potential final swan song, Fournier had his best game of the season, connecting on five of eight three-pointers for 17 points in 24 minutes. He was also a +28 from the floor.
The Knicks would come back from down 21 and beat the Philadelphia 76ers 108-97.
24 minutes en sortie de banc pour Evan Fournier face aux 76ers— Parlons NBA (@ParlonsNBA) February 6, 2023
Signing a four-year $73 million dollar contract back in 2021, Fournier’s time in New York hasn't been all peachy. He did have a pretty decent 2021-22 season. Averaging 14.1 points on 54.1 effective shooting percentage in 29.5 minutes. Relied on heavily last season, Fournier finished third on the team in minutes per game and played 80 of 82 games. Hitting 241 three-pointers, the Frenchman set a Knicks single-season record. John Starks Knicks' record of 218 set in 1995 was finally broken after 27 years.
Start of 2022-23 season/Where we are now
Holding a big contract and getting opportunities last season, it was unclear what his role would be this season. Finishing 37-45, the Knicks were 11th in the Eastern Conference, six games behind the Hornets for a spot in the play-in. Upgrading the roster, Jalen Brunson was brought in during free agency. 22-year-old shooting guard Quentin Grimes was also expected to join the starting five until an injury held him out to start the season.
With Grimes sidelined, Fournier started the team's first seven games. Ever since he got moved out of the starting lineup, it’s been a lot of time on the bench for the $73 million dollar acquisition. The younger Grimes is now firmly in the starting role due to his defense, shooting, and natural athletic instincts. Immanuel Quickley’s role has expanded with the team, along with Thibodeau playing defensive-minded guards like Miles McBride.
Fournier still had the early stretch this season where he showed to be a capable marksman. Knocking down 2.5 threes on 6.2 attempts at a 40.5 percent clip in the team’s first six games. Since October, everything has been downhill.
Leading into the Sunday, January 5th clash with the Sixers, he had only appeared in eight games since November 13th. RJ Barrett was sidelined and Immanuel Quickley had an off night, opening the door for Fournier. Thibodeau even trusted him to play the entire fourth quarter until he fouled out with 1:39 left in the game. Showing just how good any of these guys are, he took full advantage and was a major contributor to what you could call the Knicks’ best win of the season. They were gritty, battled back from down 21 on the back end of a back-to-back, and could’ve mailed it in. It was an encouraging win that showed heart. It was nice to see the Knicks take control of a close game and win. (It feels like they always lose these kinds of games).
As it stands today, Fournier's future in New York is uncertain. His name has been floated in trade rumors and we’ll find out soon enough where he spends the rest of the season.
The Frenchman is aware of his role on the team and sadly said he doesn't expect opportunities like this to become the norm again:
Evan Fournier on possibly getting back in the rotation :— Big Knick Energy (@BigKnickEnergy_) February 6, 2023
“I don’t think so…I think he’s set on his 9 man rotation…It was like a one night stand. I’m sure I’ll have another chance to play but I don’t think that’s going to change anything right now.” pic.twitter.com/vroudwvTMz
If Sunday’s win was his final hoorah at MSG as a Knick, Fournier certainly went out with a bang. Whether he stays or goes, his teammates currently languishing on the bench should pay attention to the example he set and stay prepared. You never know when the opportunity to make an impact will arise.