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Celtics GM Danny Ainge explains strategy change to use $28.5 million trade exception to get Evan Fournier

Celtics, Evan Fournier, Danny Ainge

The Boston Celtics used a portion of their $28.5 million traded player exception (TPE) to acquire Evan Fournier from the Orlando Magic. All eyes were on Celtics general manager Danny Ainge to make a move at the deadline amidst Boston’s struggles this season and with Fournier’s acquisition, it’s safe to say he delivered.

In the aftermath of the wild March 25th trade deadline, the 62-year old executive explained his strategy on using the exception in the middle of the season as opposed to during the summer. He revealed that cashing in on Fournier’s expiring deal made sense since they would have a chance to re-sign the 28-year old in the off-season and get him aboard long-term, according to Keith Smith of Yahoo Sports:

Obviously, Ainge would not trade for Fournier if he didn’t like what the 6-foot-7 wing brought to the table. In a way, he could essentially slot into the role that Gordon Hayward had for them the last couple of seasons. Like Hayward, Fournier is capable of creating his own shot and could be a microwave scorer off the bench for the Celtics.

In addition, Ainge added that he made the move to give the team some semblance of hope amidst their underwhelming 2020-21 campaign.

As Ainge mentioned, the Celtics need some kind of a jolt. Perhaps bringing in a scoring enigma like Fournier could get them on the right track and play more consistently. What makes this deal sweeter for Boston is that they only needed to give up two second-round picks to acquire the 9-year veteran.

Prior to getting dealt, Fournier was in the midst of his best individual campaign with the Magic. In 26 games, the Frenchman averaged 19.7 points, 2.9 rebounds, and 3.7 assists, while shooting 46.1 percent from the field and 38.8 percent from long range.