New York’s success in the 2020-21 season was heavily predicated on their impervious defense, and in adding additional firepower, the notion was that the team would continue to improve, however, the shooters the team added were never known for their defensive prowess. Unfortunately, the Knicks regressed throughout the year, missing the playoffs as a result. Fournier wasn’t to blame for the team’s struggles, but he also wasn’t leading the charge to turn the season around.
Now, as the front office begins to pick up the pieces of another failed season, Fournier’s position on the roster has come under question, as his salary and fit both project to become problematic for the team in the coming years. According to an Eastern Conference executive who spoke to Heavy.com under the condition of anonymity, there are paths the team can explore to end their partnership with the perimeter scoring guard.
“The team that would definitely have interest in him is Dallas, they have a need for shooting and would be interested in Fournier. The Knicks, hey, they’d take (Jalen) Brunson in a sign-and-trade but that is not going to happen of course, not with the way he has played. More realistic, I think the Mavs would give up (Reggie) Bullock and (Dwight) Powell. That’s if Dallas has a plan on bringing in a center.
Fournier Wasn’t Part of the Problem
Fournier was never part of the Knicks’ problems this season, he played his role and produced at a career-average level. The issue was that Fournier wasn’t the answer to any of the team’s problems either, and was taking up minutes that could have been spent developing some of the roster’s younger talent.
Fournier is a win-now type of commodity, where a team that has their core stars in place is looking to improve their rotation with some scoring, secondary playmaking, and help defense. For a team like the Knicks, that only had one genuine star on their roster, Fournier was always going to be joining the team too soon, and would need to wait for his role to be relevant for the organization.
However, for the Knicks, Fournier was a reliable scoring option when everybody else was struggling. According to Basketball-Reference, the 29-year-old scorer averaged 14.1 points, 2.6 rebounds, and 2.1 assists per game, starting every contest he was available to participate in.
Knicks Need to Embrace Youth
As the season began to draw to a close, the Knicks found somewhat of a winning formula by playing their younger talents. Now, the franchise finds itself at a crossroads, they know their first, second, and third-year players are capable of performing at the NBA level but need to make a decision whether to be patient and develop them or enter the trade market in search of building a contending roster.
Immanuel Quickly, RJ Barrett, Miles McBride, Quentin Grimes, Obi Toppin, and Cam Reddish have all shown their ability to become future building blocks for the Knicks franchise. If the Knicks’ front office begins to make moves to open up playing time for their young core, they could finally have chosen a legitimate path to future success, but it will certainly require a brave stance while the necessary development takes place.
Assuming the front office does go ahead and begin to build out a young and exciting roster, there will be no place for Fournier, or veteran guards Kemba Walker and Derrick Rose, but we should still expect to see Taj Gibson who Tom Thibodeau views in a similar light to how Erik Spoelstra sees Udonis Haslem for the Miami Heat.
Of course, the Knicks front office will make the moves they deem necessary in the coming months, but moving Fournier makes sense both in the immediate and for the long-term.