3 ideal free agent destinations for Evan Fournier
Evan Fournier continues to become more productive and impactful with age. Fournier, 28, is one of the better shooting scorers in the NBA. He’s efficient from the field, can shoot off the dribble and fills up the cup at a reasonable rate.
In a season split between the Boston Celtics and Orlando Magic, Fournier averaged 17.1 points per game while shooting a career-high 41.3 percent from beyond the arc. Given his consistency and offensive makeup, Fournier should be able to fetch a hefty two-to-three-year deal in free agency this summer.
The skill set he brings to the table can be effective in any NBA rotation. That said, there are some teams that stand out over the rest. Here are three ideal free agent destinations for Evan Fournier.
3) Memphis Grizzlies
The Grizzlies have a gritty core, but they need more offensive firepower to be a legitimate player in the Western Conference. Evan Fournier poses a compelling option for head coach Taylor Jenkins’ rotation.
Ja Morant is in the driver’s seat, and Dillon Brooks is in the passenger seat. Evan Fournier can sit in the middle seat in the back. Last season the Grizzlies were adequate at best from the field. They finished the regular season 20th in the NBA from three (35.6 percent), and they finished the postseason 13th from said distance (32.9 percent). Fournier helps aid them from an efficiency standpoint.
He can start at small forward or serve as the Grizzlies’ sixth man, adding a new dimension to their offense. Morant and Brooks can play in isolation, but they’re shaky from the perimeter. Fournier has the ability to score and shoot off the dribble, providing the Grizzlies with another capable scorer and someone who consistently sinks jump shots. The veteran gives the Grizzlies a specific skill set they don’t have in their rotation.
What could prevent a Fournier-Grizzlies marriage? It’s entirely possible that Memphis’ brain trust feels that one or multiple of Desmond Bane, De’Anthony Melton and Grayson Allen can take the next step and possibly grow into a younger version of Fournier. They may also have a blockbuster trade on their minds over the next year, rather than a would-be short-term upgrade.
2) New York Knicks
The Knicks have $50-plus million in cap space and a lot of holes to fill this offseason. Evan Fournier would be a superb fit at small forward for head coach Tom Thibodeau’s squad.
New York became more effective from beyond the arc as the regular season progressed, but some of the individuals who played a vital role in that are free agents (Reggie Bullock and Alec Burks). Fournier gives the Knicks someone to stretch the floor and play in-between RJ Barrett and Julius Randle. The veteran wouldn’t get in anyone’s way, as he’d be a secondary scoring option and someone who sticks open looks from the perimeter.
All the while, Fournier’s ability to attack and operate in isolation would give the Knicks another scoring option and a specific skill set they didn’t have last season. Even if the dollar signs get hefty for Fournier’s services ($15-20 million per season), the Knicks would still have plenty of cap space to upgrade their roster, not to mention the four selections they have in this month’s NBA Draft.
Fournier improves the Knicks by giving them offensive variety. Why doesn’t he land in the Big Apple? The Knicks need someone who’s going to primarily play and score in isolation, as well as a lead guard who can facilitate. Fournier checks some, but not all the boxes for what the Knicks need to acquire to contend in the Eastern Conference.
1) Chicago Bulls
It’s go time for the Chicago Bulls. They need to make the playoffs with the talent they’ve accumulated. Evan Fournier is another step towards the Bulls breaking their four-year playoff drought.
Zach LaVine and Coby White can operate off the dribble and shoot with efficiency. Center Nikola Vucevic can play both inside and outside. Patrick Williams has a well-rounded skill set that should become more productive in his sophomore season. Evan Fournier is an ideal player to be in-between the aforementioned quartet.
Last season the Bulls were 21st in the NBA in points per game (110.7). They have to score more, and Fournier improves them in that regard. His versatile offensive game would thrive as a third and potentially fourth source of offense. He can be utilized as a primary outside shooter who would ambush defenses by pump-faking and going towards the rim. In the scenario head coach Billy Donovan doesn’t want LaVine and White on the floor together, Fournier can assist with ball-handling duties.
Plus, Fournier and Vucevic were teammates with the Orlando Magic for six and a half seasons, meaning they have some familiarity with each other. This would be a fiery starting five. The Bulls have the talent to break through. They need to complement it, and Evan Fournier fits the bill.