“As you know, it’s not in my hands. If the Knicks want to keep me, I’ll have to stay. If they want to trade me, I’ll have to go,” Fournier told Eurohoops in the ongoing 2023 FIBA World Cup.
Fournier harbored ill feelings toward everyone in the organization when he was removed from the Knicks rotation.
“You want to spit on everyone. You have hatred,” he told L’Equipe in July.
He believes another season out of rotation could wreck his NBA career as he turns 31 in October.
“I would be shot [if I stay],” Fournier told L’Equipe. “I’m going to be traded, it’s not possible otherwise. Or I’d be stuck, and so would they. They have several players with big contracts coming in. Unless they want to pay a crazy luxury tax… If I stayed, it would be a disaster basketball-wise for my career. I can manage a year without playing. Two… that would be terrible.”
France’s World Cup Elimination Hits Fournier’s Value
Fournier vowed to make the World Cup his launchpad. But while he’s scoring a team-leading 21.7 points per game on 48% shooting overall and 37% from long distance, it was not enough to carry France into the second round.
Fournier showed he’s still capable of scoring, but it’s a tough sell when he no longer impacts winning. He is a minus-6.7 in France’s 1-2 record, which included an embarrassing 30-point loss to Canada.
“Obviously, I want to play again. I want to have success. I know I can help. I know I can play, I know I can do many things,” Fournier told Eurohoops.
He has one year guaranteed on his original four-year deal with the Knicks. The $18.8 million owed to him next season is considered a valuable trade chip as salary ballast in a major trade. But his contract is harder to move in a smaller trade, which might require the Knicks to attach a draft pick to unload him.
Fournier Sides with Noah Lyles
Fournier agreed with American sprinter Noah Lyles that the NBA champion should not be called world champion.
“I think it’s the point of view of a lot of Americans that when they win at home, since it’s the best [league’s] championship in the world, automatically you’re world champ. I can understand that point of view, but I agree that it should just be NBA champion personally,” Fournier told ESPN.
Lyles got into the skin of a lot of American NBA players, including stars Kevin Durant, Devin Booker and Damian Lillard for his post-championship comments after becoming the first male sprinter to win the 100m and 200m events at the World Athletics Championships since Usain Bolt.
“You know the thing that hurts me the most is that I have to watch the NBA Finals and they have ‘world champion’ on their head,” Lyles said. “World champion of what? The United States?”
“Don’t get me wrong, I love the U.S., at times, but that ain’t the world. That is not the world. We are the world. We have almost every country out here fighting, thriving, putting on their flag to show that they are represented. There ain’t no flags in the NBA.”