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Friday, September 17, 2021

How Evan Fournier’s large Knicks deal got here collectively: ‘It’s freaking New York’

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Evan Fournier scored 21 factors in France’s Olympic quarterfinals victory over Italy after scoring a $78 million greenback deal to play full-time at “The World’s Most Well-known Enviornment.’’

The brand new beginning Knicks capturing guard sounded extra excited in regards to the latter.


“I get pleasure from stress, I benefit from the highlight,’’ Fournier mentioned after the Tuesday victory, hours after signing with the Knicks originally of free company Monday. “They’d season they usually had a very great place open. I assumed I may assist. God, it’s freaking New York. You need to be a part of one thing massive, you need to have stress, you need to be a man that competes each night time.”

It was the nighttime in Tokyo when free company started and Fournier advised his agent he didn’t need to be disturbed.

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When he awakened, the 27-year-old mentioned he had a handful affords on the desk, together with from the Celtics, who acquired him from Orlando on the March deadline.

Fournier mentioned the Celtics had been his “precedence” coming into the offseason, however then the Knicks got here calling.

“I’m glad it’s over,’’ Fournier mentioned.

Fournier mentioned he wished to play for Tom Thibodeau, who’s shut buddies with former Magic head coach Steve Clifford. Whereas in Orlando, present Knicks GM Scott Perry acquired Fournier from Denver for Aaron Afflalo in what turned out to be a steal for the Magic.

When Fournier made his return to Orlando late final season with Boston, Clifford mentioned, “There’s nothing extra essential while you play 82 video games than having a man who you by no means have to fret whether or not he’s going to strive exhausting. It was a given with him. Performed damage, performed actually damage, at all times able to play, at all times into the sport plan and badly wished to win.” 

Based on an Orlando supply, Clifford regarded Fournier as amongst his favourite gamers to teach. It’s believed Clifford and Thibodeau spoke about Fournier earlier than the Knicks made him the centerpiece of their free agency.

“I’d guess the Knicks signed him as a result of Clifford raved to Thibs about how a lot Fournier needs to win and is about all the fitting issues,’’ the Orlando supply mentioned. “Cliff says that Fournier is among the hardest gamers — mentally and bodily — that he’s ever coached.’’

Fournier was a disappointment early in his profession however got here into his personal the previous two seasons as a sweet-shooting scorer. He’s now starring for Workforce France.

In 2019-20, he averaged 18.5 factors on 47 p.c total capturing. Final season, he averaged 21 factors and shot 41.3 p.c from past the arc.


Fournier will change the departed Reggie Bullock, who got here up small within the first-round playoff loss to Atlanta. Though Fournier was a member of plenty of shedding groups in Orlando and has by no means been out of the primary spherical of the playoffs, he has performed within the final three postseasons.

In 19 playoff video games, Fournier has shot simply 37 p.c from the sector. Towards the Nets within the first spherical, Fournier averaged 15.4 factors on 42.9 p.c capturing – 43.3 p.c from three-point vary.

And he at the moment he has France within the Olympic semifinals with last week’s victory over Team USA one among his proudest accomplishments.

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