Central Notes: Fournier, Grimes, Bucks, Carter

Evan Fournier is glad for the change of scenery, even though he isn’t sure whether he’ll have a role with the Pistons. Fournier was languishing on the Knicks‘ bench before getting dealt to Detroit a week ago.

“I’m really excited to finally be out of New York,” he said (video link from James Edwards III of The Athletic). “As soon as I got traded they called me and said they’ve been trying to have me for the last couple of seasons now, so I’m looking forward to the opportunity.”

Fournier’s contract includes a $19MM club option for next season, which almost certainly will be declined. He hopes to show what he has to offer before the end of this season.

“I don’t know what my role is, but I’m just going to be myself and prepare as if I’m going to play,” he said. “I have to get to know the guys still, but if I can help them with what I see then I’ll gladly do it.”

We have more from the Central Division:

  • There’s little doubt that Quentin Grimes, who was also included in the same trade, will have a rotation role with the Pistons, though he’s dealing with a knee sprain and won’t make his Detroit debut until after the All-Star break. “I’ve always felt like he’s one of those guys who’s trying to find that consistent path, but he has a skill set and body type that fits the way we want to play,” coach Monty Williams said, per Mike Curtis of the Detroit News. “He can shoot the ball. He’s got a big body, so defensively, he can switch and guard the way that we like to. I think there’s a lot more in his game. We want to try to figure that out.”
  • The Bucks defeated the Nuggets 112-95 on Monday, marking the second consecutive game they have held an opponent under 100 points. It’s the first time the Bucks have pulled that off in the regular season since November 2021. Giannis Antetokounmpo said the coaching change from Adrian Griffin to Doc Rivers has made a difference. “Coach Doc is holding us to a high standard,” the Bucks superstar said. “He wants us to defend. He doesn’t take lack of effort as an excuse. If you’re on the floor, you’ve got to do your best.”
  • The Bulls signed guard Jevon Carter to a three-year, $19.5MM contract last summer but he’s played a much smaller role than anticipated, K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago notes. “They don’t really have too much to say about it,” Carter said of the coaching staff’s reasons for not playing him more often. “It’s just the NBA. That’s how it goes. All I can do is keep working and be ready for whenever my name is called. And that’s what I’m going to do.” Carter has appeared in 51 games off the bench, averaging 13.8 minutes per night. He averaged 22.4 MPG while playing 81 regular season games with Milwaukee last season.
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