Orlando Magic wing Evan Fournier has had a mixed season.
One on hand, he’s performing to his career tendencies, that being scoring and shooting at a respectable rate as one of head coach Steve Clifford’s leading catalysts; Fournier is averaging 18.2 points, 3.9 assists, three rebounds and 1.1 steals while shooting 35.6 percent from beyond the arc across 29.3 minutes per contest this season.
On the other hand, he has appeared in just 20 games due to a back injury, and the Magic are a lowly 13-21, good for the 13th seed in the Eastern Conference. A free-agent-to-be after the 2020-21 NBA season, the Magic reportedly “could be willing” to trade Evan Fournier before the March 25 NBA trade deadline according to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst. Where will Fournier be playing in a month?
Here are three teams who could trade for him:
3) Chicago Bulls
Bulls acquire: Evan Fournier
Magic acquire: Tomas Satoransky and Ryan Arcidiacono
The Bulls, like the majority of the Eastern Conference, have a reasonable shot at making the playoffs, and Fournier could help them do so while also balancing out their roster.
Fournier would add a composed shooting scorer to the mix. Yes, the Bulls already have the makings of a functioning offense headlined by Zach LaVine and Coby White. At the same time, Fournier could play off the ball as a shooter who can occasionally ambush with his ability to score off the dribble.
Chicago has plenty of players who are adept at running an offense and having the ball in their hands. They need more complementary scorers and/or players who can consistently stretch the floor. Albeit Otto Porter Jr. is respectable in that role, you can’t have enough shooting in the NBA. In the aforementioned trade, the Bulls send out two guards whose times with the organization are likely coming to an end in the near future due to the team’s guard depth, anyway.
Orlando can experiment with Satoransky and Arcidiacono as rotation players given some of the injuries their roster has endured this season (Evan Fournier, Markelle Fultz, Aaron Gordon and Jonathan Isaac have missed time this season due to injury).
Satoransky and Arcidiacono are each capable shooters, and Satoransky has a knack for finding the open man. Both players could return to Orlando next season if they play well, as they’re each under team control for the 2021-22 season.
2) Dallas Mavericks
Mavericks acquire: Evan Fournier
Magic acquire: James Johnson, Josh Green and a 2022 second-round draft pick
The Mavericks have gotten back on track after a porous start to the regular season. That said, they should be looking to make a move before the trade deadline to bolster their roster, and Evan Fournier would be a savvy pickup.
Yes, the Mavericks have a plethora of players who are adept at shooting from all over the floor, from Luka Doncic to Maxi Kleber. Concurrently, you can’t have enough depth in the Western Conference. Fournier has shown an ability to be a primary scorer.
With the Mavericks, Fournier would be in a secondary scoring role, perhaps boosting the bench unit, and could even be on the floor at the end of games as he garners more familiarity in head coach Rick Carlisle’s rotation. Fournier could benefit from a late double-team on Doncic or Kristaps Porzingis, getting open for an elbow or corner three-pointer.
In this trade, the Magic take back Johnson’s expiring contract, a future second-rounder, and a young player in Green. The one-year Arizona guard flaunted a similar skill set to Fournier in college. He shot 36.1 percent from beyond the arc, showcased a willingness to attack off the dribble and was a steady source of offense.
The Magic could aspire to turn Green, who’s under team control for three and a half seasons, into Evan Fournier. Such a return for an impending free agent could turn into a win-win for Orlando’s sake.
1) Boston Celtics
Celtics acquire: Evan Fournier
Magic acquire: Daniel Theis, Romeo Langford and a 2021 second-round draft pick via the Oklahoma City Thunder
The Celtics are supposed to be a perennial contender in the East. At 17-17, they look like no such threat. A move for Evan Fournier could kickstart head coach Brad Stevens’ roster.
While he’d likely come off the bench, Fournier would provide the Celtics with a well-rounded scorer to lift the second unit. He’d take some pressure off Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, who have carried the scoring load for the Celtics this season. Plus, Fournier has some similar skill sets to Tatum and Brown in that he’s a steady shooter.
Fournier would also help make up for some of the lack of production in year one from rookie forward Aaron Nesmith, who’s averaging just 4.2 points per game and has been unable to become a rotation fixture.
Boston can afford to trade the veteran Theis and the second-year Langford because of Tristan Thompson’s presence, as well as the presence of young big men Robert Williams and Grant Williams. Rookie guard Payton Pritchard’s encouraging rookie season helps alleviate Langford’s struggles to get on the floor due to a wrist injury. The Celtics surrender this package to get themselves back in the conference mix, which the organization expects this team to be in on a yearly basis.
While Langford is yet to play this season, he’s a former first-round selection. The Magic recently extended Isaac despite him missing the current season due to a torn ACL: they’ve shown a willingness to invest in the future despite a short-term absence. Meanwhile, the Magic can turn around and trade Theis to a contender for a pair of second-round picks given they already have centers Nikola Vucevic and Mohamed Bamba.