Evan Fournier’s return to Boston was perceived by many to be a near-sure thing. Acquired at the trade deadline back in March, the Celtics used a hefty chunk of their Gordon Hayward trade exception in order to acquire the sharpshooting wing from the Orlando Magic. A near 20-points per game scorer at his peak, the Frenchman looked to be much more than a half-year rental, especially with Boston owning his bird rights. However, every team has its breaking point when it comes to contract negotiations, and it looks as if the Celtics may have just reached there’s.
According to the Boston Herald’s Mark Murphy, “negotiations between the Celtics and Evan Fournier are close to stalling, with the team unwilling to meet the valuable wing player’s asking price of $80 million over four years.”
For what it’s worth, that salary number aligns — albeit at the high-end — with the rumored price point that has circulated Fournier free agency talks over recent months. One anonymous executive told HoopsHype back in June that the feeling in NBA circles is that Fournier would seek a contract worth between $15-20 million per season, in line with the $17.5 million he made this past season.
The Celtics would still likely prefer to hammer out a deal with Fournier. With that said, don’t look for the team to go beyond their means in order to retain the 28-year-old, especially after recently acquiring guard/forward Josh Richardson from the Dallas Mavericks.
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Fournier & Knicks Share ‘Mutual Interest’
If Boston and Fournier don’t find even ground before the free agency market officially opens up on Monday, August 2nd, at 6 p.m. ET, they could be in danger of losing his services to an Atlantic Division foe, via SNY’s Ian Begley.
There has been mutual interest between Fournier and the [New York] Knicks, per SNY sources. Fournier had significant support in the organization prior to Thursday’s draft. It doesn’t seem like anything that happened on draft night would change that.
News of shared interest between both parties shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, as the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Keith Pompey recently highlighted New York’s likely pursuit of Fournier in free agency alongside former Brooklyn Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie.
New York will pursue Evan Fournier in free agency and are considering making a push for Spencer Dinwiddie, according to sources. Dinwiddie declined his player option for $12.3 million with Brooklyn Nets to become an unrestricted free agent.
The Boston Celtics acquired Fournier from the Orlando Magic in March. He’ll become an unrestricted free agent. The French guard, who helped his native country upset the U.S. in the Olympics earlier this week, is expected to ask for around $18 million per season, while Dinwiddie’s asking price is $25 million per, sources say.
Fournier Began to Find His Footing Late in the Season
Fournier’s move from Central Florida to Beantown was far from the smoothest. In his very first game as a Celtic, he shot an abysmal 0-of-10 from the field. From there he proceeded to miss 11 of the next 14 games after a taxing battle with COVID.
Thankfully, a healthy Fournier finally began to settle in his new digs. The former LNB All-Star ended up starting in each of his final 15 game appearances (regular season and playoffs) and averaging 18.0 ppg over his final 12 games. He also proved to be even more of a lethal threat from beyond the arc than we had already grown accustomed to. After hitting on 38.8% of his 3-point attempts with the Magic earlier in the year, Fournier knocked down an absurd 46.3% of his shots as a member of the Celtics.