Although playmaking big men Aaron Gordon, Harrison Barnes and John Collins evaded them on the day of the NBA trade deadline, the Boston Celtics still managed to upgrade their roster, adding sharpshooter Evan Fournier in a deal with the Orlando Magic.
Better yet, Celtics GM Danny Ainge managed to pull it off without sending much beyond veteran point guard Jeff Teague. Instead, the Magic received a pair of second-round picks to complete the deal.
The trade was made possible financially by the massive traded-player exception (TPE) that the Celtics created when they signed-and-traded Gordon Hayward to the Charlotte Hornets during the offseason.
As it happens, Fournier seemingly sees himself filling the role that Hayward vacated with his move to Charlotte.
Fournier Speaks on His Role
In the wake of his move from Orlando — his NBA home for the last seven years — to the Massachusetts Bay, Fournier spoke with the French hoops outlet TrashTalk. During the interview (which has been translated into English), he offered clues about what he thinks his role with the Celtics might be.
“I see the way they used Gordon Hayward, for example, before. It’s an interesting role,” Fournier said. “Obviously, you have Jayson Tatum who will often have the ball because he is the first scorer, but you have a lot of ball movement; good players who can punish.”
Fournier noted that he can make an impact spotting up and being ready to receive and fire the ball while Tatum does his thing in isolation. He also appraised himself as a versatile offensive talent.
“With Tatum there are a lot of isolations, one-on-one. And even if one of my strengths is to create in the pick and roll, I think they are already served at that level, so I will especially be able to help them with catch-and-shoot. It’s one of my strengths in my offensive palette. I can do a lot of different things.”
For Fournier, the end result is what matters most.
“If I have to do more catch-and-shoot than usual, I will do it with pleasure because the objective above all is to help the team win. If there is a need to help in a particular area, I will.”
On How He’ll Help Change Celtics’ Fortunes
Fournier has joined a situation in Boston where the team will be expected to win games at a far greater rate than his previous squad had been doing. However, he is well aware that the Celtics haven’t exactly lived up to expectations, either.
At the same time, he thinks the chaos caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the team.
“It’s true that Boston has a record that is below what could be expected, but you also have to understand the circumstances,” he said.
“They have played several games without Kemba [Walker] who was injured. It is one of the teams that was most affected by Covid; I believe they had three or four cases including Jayson Tatum. So they must have played several games where they were really seven or eight, and it was a bit s**t. Clearly not ideal conditions to perform.”
For his part, Fournier is ready to help the Celtics return to the level of play that fans in Beantown are accustomed to.
“[In 2018] they made it to the Conference Finals when they couldn’t rely too much on Gordon Hayward; he’s still a big gun. Let’s say that they are a little out of rhythm, and I hope to be able to help reverse the trend.”
As relayed by the Celtics via Twitter, Ainge believes that Fournier could join his new team on Saturday for their road bout with the Oklahoma City Thunder.