If nothing else, it’s clear that Leon Rose and the New York Knicks front office have a plan in place. But what if that plan goes sideways next season?
Fans and fingers alike will no doubt turn to the newly arrived Evan Fournier, who signed a four year $78-million deal with the team this summer.
That makes the 28-year old New York’s second-highest paid player, behind All-NBA and All-Star forward Julius Randle, who recently inked an extension.
In a season where the Knicks potentially underperform, would Fournier’s contract fall under a new lens, and viewed as potentially the team’s “worst” contract?
With three years and $54-million of his deal guaranteed, it’s not outside the realm of possibility, as Zach Buckley explores in his latest for Bleacher Report.
What Caliber Player is Fournier?
Evan Fournier has put up some respectable numbers over his nine years in the NBA, but a lot of that comes as a member of not great Orlando Magic teams.
Justifiably, there’s some speculation to how much he’ll be able to help this younger New York Knicks team, who’re coming off their first playoffs since 2013.
And at almost $19-million annually, Bleacher Report’s Zach Buckley has joined in on the conversation, speculating Fournier’s contract as the team’s worst:
Evan Fournier consistently put up solid numbers on some bad Orlando Magic teams, but once he was traded to the Celtics, it became clear he wasn’t more than a complementary offensive player who struggles on defense.
He even went as far as to project a modest stat line, that would come up short in reaching his value off the floor, on the hardwood:
If he winds up averaging around 15 points and three assists in New York, the production won’t measure up to the price.
15 points and three assists per game isn’t the worst line, especially if Julius Randle is still playing primary ball handler for New York next season.
But regardless, Buckley’s correct in projecting Fournier’s contract as one that could sour in value very quickly.
Fortunately, he’s already provided the Knicks a solution.
Harrison Barnes to New York?
Should the New York Knicks find themselves with the desire to move on from Evan Fournier, Zach Buckley recommended the Sacramento Kings as a trade partner:
Sending Fournier and a future first-round pick to the Kings for Harrison Barnes would remove a liability in New York and add a shot-creator in Sacramento.
Harrison Barnes, coming off of his second full season with the team, averaged 16.1 points, 6.6 rebounds, and 3.5 assists per game last season.
Buckley isn’t wrong in calling the 29-year old a more complete player, given his ability and willingness to compete on both ends of the ball.
And after shooting 39% from behind-the-arc last season, Barnes would certainly quiet any concerns over losing Fournier and his three-point shooting.
The one catch in any deal as Buckley’s proposed: the timeline. New York can’t trade Fournier until six months have passed from when he signed his contract.
It would likely take at least that long, if not longer, for the Knicks to give up on the veteran guard though, so Buckley’s proposal is increasingly viable.
Now, whether or not they’d feel inclined to include one of their future first-round picks has yet to be seen. Leon Rose has been sparing on the trade market.