Knicks Notes: Fournier, Grimes, DiVincenzo, Holiday, Robinson

After Evan Fournier expressed his dissatisfaction over the summer about being pulled from the Knicks‘ rotation last season and not being given a chance to play for months, head coach Tom Thibodeau responded to Fournier’s complaints during a media session on Monday, as Stefan Bondy of The New York Post writes.

Thibodeau wasn’t overly sympathetic to Fournier’s gripes, pointing out that the numbers the Knicks posted without the veteran wing in the rotation speak for themselves.

“I didn’t come into (last) season thinking we were going to do the things that we did. We did it because we didn’t have success one way. So, we adjusted,” Thibodeau said. “And then the next group that went in, it’s hard to argue with 37-22 with a plus-five net rating. So, it is what it is. Your job is to stay ready. So whatever you’re doing, go out there and do it. Be part of the team.”

As Bondy writes, the Knicks went 37-45 in 2021/22 with Fournier as a full-time starter and were off to a 6-7 start last season when he was removed from the rotation. While the team’s turnaround certainly can’t be attributed solely to sitting Fournier, New York finished with a 47-35 record.

Fournier’s comments in July indicated that he didn’t expect to still be a Knick by this point, and a source tells Bondy that his representatives tried to work out a trade this summer. However, the club didn’t find a deal it liked. Fournier’s $18.9MM pseudo-expiring contract doesn’t have positive value on its own, but could be a useful salary-matching piece in the right trade.

Here’s more on the Knicks:

  • The Knicks committed approximately $47MM in guaranteed money to Donte DiVincenzo this offseason, but the plan for now is to have Quentin Grimes remain in the starting lineup at shooting guard, Thibodeau said on Monday, per Bondy. Thibodeau cited the success the club had after Grimes became a starter last season as the reason why he has earned the first shot at the job again this season. “Now of course you haven’t played any games and nothing has unfolded yet,” Thibodeau said. “So you base your decisions on the information you have. And that’s the information that we have and we’re going to go from there.” Jalen Brunson, RJ Barrett, Julius Randle, and Mitchell Robinson project to be the other four starters.
  • Discussing his reasons for signing with the Knicks this offseason, DiVincenzo mentioned reuniting with his former Villanova teammates and getting to be close to family, tweets Ian Begley of DiVincenzo also believes the Knicks are in a great position to continue their winning ways: “Ultimately, I like to win basketball games. Looking at…where I was potentially going to land, I felt most comfortable coming here.”
  • The Knicks had some interest in Jrue Holiday when Portland made him available, but the fact that they weren’t prepared to outbid Boston is indicative of the patient, cautious approach that Leon Rose has taken since assuming control of the club’s front office, Begley writes for Begley still anticipates that the front office will take advantage of their extra draft assets by trading for an impact player at some point, but New York is clearly waiting for the right opportunity to push its chips into the middle of the table.
  • As an aside within a larger story about Deandre Ayton and the Trail Blazers, Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports cites sources who say that the asking price for Mitchell Robinson, if the Knicks were to make him available, would be multiple first-round picks. Goodwill was making a point about the value of centers around the league, not suggesting that Robinson is on the trade block.
  • Steve Popper of Newsday (subscription required) outlines five questions facing the Knicks entering training camp, including whether or not to extend Immanuel Quickley and which players are at risk of having their minutes cut back in a crowded rotation.
  • Having been let go by ESPN this summer, Mark Jackson may fill in for Clyde Frazier on some MSG Network broadcasts of Knicks games this season, sources tell Andrew Marchand of The New York Post. According to Marchand, MSG Network had interest in bringing in Jackson’s former broadcast partner Jeff Van Gundy for some games as well, but that’s unlikely to happen in 2023/24.
View Comments (18)