The New York Knicks stopped playing basketball a few months ago. The France international team is only starting to warm up for what is ahead of them: the 2023 FIBA World Cup.
You might be asking yourself what’s the common denominator overlapping between those two organizations? Let me tell you: the one and only Evan Fournier, ostracized Knickerbocker and proud Frenchman.
Starting with the old news, you already know the situation.
Fournier wants out of New York, and he’s a little mad at the Knicks and mostly at coach Tom Thibodeau because of the treatment the wing received from the head coach through the second half of the 2023 season.
He even went the distance to say “‘You want to spit on everyone—you have hatred,” when asked about how Thibs treated him and another veteran in Derrick Rose, now a member of the Memphis Grizzlies.
Of course, those statements didn’t help Fournier but they did an even bigger disfavor to the Knicks as Fournier’s value tanked and the leverage of New York in any negotiation simply vanished with all other 29 franchises knowing he’s more than gone and that the Knicks have no other way out of this than getting rid of him before he causes any (more) trouble.
But with the FIBA World Cup right around the corner, Fournier is inadvertently going to rebuild his value if only because he’s still one of France’s main staples on the international stage.
The French international team played a couple of friendly matches at the end of July (vs. Tunisia) and at the start of August (vs. Montenegro). They demolished the former opponent 93-36 and then suffered a bit more against the latter but still came out with a nice 80-69 victory.
Fournier, who struggled in the first game sporting some reasonably rusty legs, played the second-most minutes (19) among fellow Frenchmen only behind former NBA big Guerschon Yabusele. Eves put up a 3-0-3 line shooting a couple of three balls and hitting one of them.
Then, the explosion.
In the second game of the pre-tournament tour of France, Fournier scored a game-high 20 points in 28 minutes of playing time. Rudy Gobert finished second in scoring with 16 points. Only Ely Okobo (12) scored in double-digits for France other than the aforementioned two.
Even was great, shot 4-of-6 from two-point range and 3-of-6 from three while scoring 3-of-7 freebies. He put up a +16 plus/minus. He dished out a couple of dimes and pulled down four rebounds. Everything worked for Fournier on the day.
The Knicks can do nothing to rebuild the value of their expiring player, but Fournier himself is going to do New York a solid without even noticing. That’s what you call a win-win situation.
Until France crosses paths with the USA in the knockout stages. Only then, there is a chance most Knicks fans stop rooting for poor Evens.
But not before we reach that point in September will we stop reppin’ the Frenchmen. Allez les Bleus!