The New York Knicks benched Evan Fournier earlier this year after he was a starter all last season, and now he finds himself out of the rotation entirely.
It’s just one game, but it could be a sign of things to come for the sharpshooting guard as his removal resulted in a Knicks victory over the hot Utah Jazz. The writing was on the wall for Fournier after losing his starting job, but it’s been a swift drop for him.
According to coach Tom Thibodeau, the decision to shake up the rotation was just to see how the team would react.
“We wanted to see what it would look like and it gave us, I thought, better rhythm,” Thibodeau said, as transcribed by the New York Post. “That’s why we did it.”
He might not be out of the rotation for long, but it seems like his days in New York could be limited if this is the type of experimenting that’s being done.
NBA writer Keith Smith made a prediction that Fournier would eventually be shipped off to a contender in need of shooting, and it’s a fair assumption to make.
“Prediction: Just like when he was traded from Orlando to Boston, Fournier is going to be traded to a contender that needs some wing depth,” he wrote. “Seems like his time in New York has all but run its course already.”
Will Fournier Be Moved?
Fournier still provides a lot of shooting to a team, but his defense has proved to be poor enough where the Knicks have to think about other options. Thibodeau is known as a defensive-minded coach, so he was likely left with few other choices other than getting him out of the rotation.
There are several teams around the league who could use shooting on the roster, and the Los Angeles Lakers are one that comes to mind. However, the Lakers don’t have much to offer in a trade other than Russell Westbrook and some first-round picks. When it comes to the draft picks, it’s tough to imagine giving up coveted picks like that for somebody like Fournier.
Fournier is under contract for three more seasons, so the Knicks will have to get something figured out for him if they don’t move on. He’s fresh off a record setting campaign with New York, so it’s a swift fall for Fournier.
To be fair to him, the Knicks weren’t expected to be much better even with Jalen Brunson at point guard, and some would even say they are right in line with where they should be at 7-7. So far, this is good enough to get them the 7th seed in the playoffs, but that’s not expected to remain the case for them.
Will There Be Interest?
The New York Knicks likely won’t move Fournier for the sake of moving him, but they’ll instead wait for the right offer.
There’s no telling if that will ever come along, especially considering being benched and then removed from the rotation can’t be doing much for his trade value. Everyone around the league knows how his shooting is, but that might not be enough for teams to come calling.
Being in the second year of a four year deal is also a possible hang up because if he regresses, teams will be on the hook for a lot of future money. Teams in a pinch now, like the Lakers, could use his shooting, but it could end up being a hindrance years down the road.