Evan Fournier

Knicks Notes: Hart, Quickley, Toppin, Fournier, Barrett

Josh Hart appears open to a long-term contract with the Knicks, Michael Scotto of HoopsHype said in a discussion about the team with Ian Begley of SNY. Hart has been a perfect fit since being acquired from the Trail Blazers at the trade deadline, and he has quickly become a favorite of head coach Tom Thibodeau.

Hart has a $13MM player option for next season, but he’s expected to turn it down and test the market. Scotto said Hart enjoys being in New York and will likely get a three- or four-year offer from the team.

Begley adds that the Knicks wouldn’t have parted with a future first-round pick along with Cam Reddish unless they were confident that they could keep Hart. He notes that Hart has talked about his connections to team president Leon Rose as well as Jalen Brunson and Julius Randle and is looking for stability after being traded four times in his first six NBA seasons.

There’s more on the Knicks from Scotto and Begley:

  • Teams may have missed an opportunity by not trading for Immanuel Quickley earlier this season, per Scotto, who says there were rumors that New York would have taken a first-round pick in return. Quickley is now among the favorites for Sixth Man of the Year honors and may be in line for a rookie scale extension this summer. Begley suggests the Knicks’ offer will have to be “something significant” to get Quickley to accept, adding that he’s not likely to give them a “home team discount.”
  • Randle’s reemergence should make Obi Toppin a strong trade candidate, according to Scotto. The third-year power forward is playing just 14.6 minutes per game and will make $6.8MM next season. Begley states that the Knicks talked to several teams about Toppin before the deadline, including the Pacers, but no one was willing to offer the draft assets they wanted in return for the former lottery pick.
  • New York will also look for a taker for Evan Fournier, who will have a virtual $18.8MM expiring contract next season because there’s a team option for 2024/25. Fournier was brought up in trade talks with the Raptors involving OG Anunoby, but Toronto was asking for three first-round picks and the Knicks weren’t confident about re-signing Anunoby when he reaches free agency in 2024, Scotto says. The Lakers also had some interest in Fournier earlier in the season, Begley adds.
  • RJ Barrett hasn’t been in Thibodeau’s closing lineups recently, and Scotto believes the Knicks would be willing to use him as a trade chip if they chase a star player this summer.

New York Notes: Thomas, Marks, Knicks, Anunoby, LaVine

Nets guard Cam Thomas was fined $40K by the NBA for using “derogatory and disparaging language during a live television interview,” the league announced on Friday (via Twitter).

Thomas was being interviewed on TNT on Thursday night alongside new teammate Spencer Dinwiddie and was asked about comments Dinwiddie made during his press conference earlier in the week. Dinwiddie had joked that the Nets acquired him and Dorian Finney-Smith because they needed more good-looking players.

“We already had good-looking dudes, no homo,” Thomas said (Twitter video link via ClutchPoints).

Thomas took to Twitter late on Thursday night to issue an apology for his comment.

“I want to apologize for the insensitive word I used in the post-game interview,” Thomas wrote. “I was excited about the win and was being playful. I definitely didn’t intend to offend anyone, but realize that I probably did. My apologies again. Much love.”

Here’s more on the NBA’s two New York teams:

  • The status of Nets general manager Sean Marks is worth watching this offseason, given how disappointing the Kyrie Irving/Kevin Durant era in Brooklyn ultimately was, writes Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Marks has already gotten the chance to hire three head coaches, Lewis notes, and the team seems further from title contention than it has been at any time in recent years.
  • Speaking to reporters after this week’s blockbuster trades, Marks acknowledged that the Irving/Durant Nets “didn’t work” and said it was “sad” to trade away a superstar like Durant. Adam Zagoria of NJ.com has the story and the quotes from the Nets’ GM.
  • Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News confirms the Knicks had discussions about OG Anunoby and Zach LaVine prior to the trade deadline, but says those talks didn’t gain traction.
  • According to Ian Begley of SNY.tv, the Knicks and Bulls touched base on LaVine on Thursday, several weeks after initially discussing him. During those earlier talks, there was some support within the Knicks’ organization for pursuing LaVine using a package of Derrick Rose, Evan Fournier, a young rotation player, and “significant” draft capital. New York, concerned that it might be a lateral move, opted not to meet Chicago’s asking price, but it’s possible the two teams will revisit those conversations in the summer, Begley writes.
  • Although the Knicks didn’t want to give up draft capital to move off Fournier’s contract, they mulled the possibility of downgrading their draft assets in a deal involving him (ie. trading Fournier and a first-round pick in a deal for a less valuable first-rounder), according to Fred Katz of The Athletic. The veteran wing ended up staying put, as New York didn’t find a deal it liked.

Knicks, Jazz Have Had Exploratory Talks About Beasley, Vanderbilt

The Knicks and Jazz have engaged in some exploratory conversations about a possible trade that would send wing Malik Beasley and forward Jarred Vanderbilt to New York, reports Michael Scotto of HoopsHype.

According to Scotto, the proposed deal would see Evan Fournier, Obi Toppin, and draft capital going to Utah.

As Scotto details, the specific draft assets going from the Knicks to the Jazz presumably represent the sticking point in the talks between the two teams. Utah has reportedly sought a first-round pick for Beasley and one for Vanderbilt as well.

Given that Fournier’s contract, which includes an $18.9MM guaranteed salary for 2023/24, is viewed as a negative asset, the Jazz may want another first-round pick for taking on that deal rather than simply considering him the salary-matching piece for Beasley. On the other hand, Toppin – the eighth overall pick in 2020 – should have positive value and could perhaps take the place of one of the first-rounders Utah is seeking, Scotto notes.

Of course, even if the Knicks and Jazz could agree on the number of first-round picks that would accompany Fournier and Toppin to Utah, the two teams may not see eye to eye on how those picks are protected.

New York controls several protected first-rounders from other teams, including Dallas’ 2023 pick (top-10 protected), Washington’s 2023 pick (top-14 protected), Detroit’s 2023 pick (top-18 protected), and Milwaukee’s 2025 pick (top-four protected). Of those selections, only Milwaukee’s has a chance to ultimately land in the top eight. The Knicks also have the ability to add protections to their own first-rounders if they’re willing to trade one or more of them.

However, CEO Danny Ainge made it a priority to stockpile unprotected first-round selections in his offseason trades involving Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell. Beasley and Vanderbilt don’t carry the same value as those two All-Stars, so Ainge won’t have as much leverage in this instance, but he’ll still be pushing to make the protections as light as possible on any pick he acquires.

Current Knicks executive Gersson Rosas signed both Beasley and Vanderbilt to their current contracts when he was the head of basketball operations in Minnesota. Led by president of basketball operations Leon Rose, New York had interest in Beasley before he re-signed with the Wolves in 2020, Scotto writes.

Beasley has reportedly drawn interest this season from teams like Cleveland, Atlanta, Phoenix and New Orleans in addition to New York.

As for Vanderbilt, Scotto has heard that the Pacers have interest in the fifth-year forward, previously named the Suns as a possible suitor, and confirms that the Trail Blazers are in the mix as well. Forward Nassir Little is a player to watch if Portland gets involved in trade talks with Utah, Scotto adds.

New York Notes: Knicks’ Second Unit, Knicks Defense, Nets Offense

There may be more pressure on the Knicks’ front office than coach Tom Thibodeau, Steve Popper of Newsday speculates.

The Knicks had to attach draft picks to trade three veterans during the offseason and now have three more — Evan Fournier, Derrick Rose and Cam Reddish — glued to the bench. They could use some help on the second unit, with Eric Gordon and Grayson Allen rumored as potential trade targets. Meanwhile, Thibodeau is leaning on younger players to produce.

“We know that a big part of learning is trial and error, so our young guys are getting better day by day, and that’s what I’m excited about,” the head coach said. “I know there’s a tremendous amount of growth they’ve already had, and I think there’s more to come.”

We have more on the New York City teams:

  • With the jumbled standings and most teams at least in contention for the play-in tournament, there are more buyers than sellers in the trade market. That could make it more difficult for the Knicks to do anything, Fred Katz of The Athletic notes. The Knicks are hoping that more teams will go into sell mode prior to the trade deadline — Katz breaks down which clubs might fall into that category.
  • The Knicks were disappointed with their defensive coverages in their loss to the Kevin Durant-less Nets, Peter Botte of the New York Post writes. The Nets knocked down 22 3-pointers. “Closing out, sense of urgency, none of that. We have to be better,” Julius Randle said. “We didn’t play well enough to win. We definitely didn’t deserve to win the game. We didn’t pick up our sense of urgency until the game went on, the fourth quarter. We have to be better from the start.”
  • On the flip side, the Nets might need to continue firing away from deep to make up for Durant’s absence, according to Brian Lewis of the New York Post. They attempted 40 3-pointers against the Knicks and head coach Jacque Vaughn wasn’t sure it was enough. “I wouldn’t mind having 10 more,” Vaughn said. “I say that in the huddle, let’s get 50 up. We have a good enough squad who can shoot the basketball and they have to be respected. [Kyrie Irving’s] ability, that’s why it’s so great to have the basketball in his hands. … If we can shoot 50 [3-pointers], we’ll shoot 50 and be OK with that as long as they’re good ones.”

Atlantic Notes: Fournier, Durant, Tatum, Raptors

Asked directly if he wants to remain with the Knicks, Evan Fournier paused to consider his answer before responding, writes Zach Braziller of The New York Post. As the veteran wing eventually explained, while his preference would be to stay in New York, that may not be the case if he’s going to remain out of the team’s rotation.

“Best-case scenario, I want to stay here. I want to play here,” Fournier said. “I had a bunch of different choices in free agency and I wanted to be a Knick. I love New York. I wanted to play for (head coach Tom Thibodeau). So I’d love to stay, but I’d love to play.”

Fournier went on to say that he feels like he’s in the best shape of his career and that he’d rather not spend some of his prime years sitting on the bench.

“I should be in my prime. I am in my prime,” he said, per Braziller. “You want to play, for sure. Especially as a competitor. It’s not like I forgot how to play. Last year I had a different role and somehow I was able to break a 30-year-old franchise record (most three-pointers in a season). So I am going to find a way to adapt to any situation.”

The veteran wing has been ruled out of Tuesday’s game vs. Cleveland for personal reasons, the Knicks announced (via Twitter). According to Steve Popper of Newsday (Twitter link), Fournier’s wife gave birth today.

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • It’s uncertain after today’s update from the team whether Kevin Durant will be healthy in time to play in next month’s All-Star Game, but if the decision is up to him, the Nets star would like to suit up in Salt Lake City, writes Tim Bontemps of ESPN. “I want to play tomorrow if I can,” Durant said. “So that’s what my sense of urgency is. Obviously, I don’t want to rush anything. I want to make sure I’m 100%. But yeah, I want to play. I want to be a part of all these events.”
  • Celtics forward Jayson Tatum didn’t rule out the possibility that his sore left wrist will require surgery after the season, but indicated that he has no plans to miss extended time during the season, using rest and injury management to play through the ailment, per Bobby Manning of CLNS Media.
  • Eric Koreen and John Hollinger of The Athletic teamed up to take a closer look at the Raptors‘ approach to the trade deadline and various factors the team should be considering as it weighs its options. Hollinger views the Lakers as one logical trade partner for Gary Trent Jr., pointing out that L.A. would be in position to re-sign the veteran swingman to a new contract this summer.

Atlantic Notes: Fournier, Rose, Maxey, Nurse, Claxton

After a long stretch outside the Knicks‘ rotation, injuries have given Evan Fournier and Derrick Rose a chance to play again, writes Peter Botte of The New York Post. Jalen Brunson missed a third straight game Saturday with a sore hip and RJ Barrett sat out his second game after suffering a lacerated finger on Tuesday, so Fournier and Rose were back in their familiar roles.

Coach Tom Thibodeau called Fournier “a true pro” after he returned to the court Thursday following a 23-game absence. On Saturday, Thibodeau held up Fournier and Rose as positive examples for young guards such as Quentin Grimes and Miles McBride.

“I think trial and error is a big part of learning, so they have to go through things,” Thibodeau said. “There’s gonna be some bumps, how do you handle all those things and then there’s times, hey look, this league, it’s a roller coaster. There’s gonna be times it’s going great and then all of a sudden it can change very quickly on you and it’s going the other way. And you have to be able to handle both. So I think having the right veterans around those young guys is very important.”

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Sixers guard Tyrese Maxey didn’t play Saturday after logging 19 minutes Friday night in his return from a fractured foot. Coach Doc Rivers plans to monitor Maxey’s playing time for a while, tweets Andrew Lopez of ESPN.
  • The Raptors responded to a challenge from coach Nick Nurse in Friday’s win over Phoenix, notes Michael Grange of Sportsnet.ca. Toronto had fallen out of a play-in spot with five straight losses, and Nurse called the recent effort “unacceptable.” Instead of having a shootaround before facing the Suns, the team went through a 20-minute film session with Nurse pointing out areas that need improvement. “It’s very simple, foundational things that we’ve got to get better,” Nurse explained. “… I’m probably not gonna air on the soft side of saying, ‘It was just a one-night thing.’ I’m gonna show them the good, bad, and ugly. I’m gonna show them that I’m not backing away from any of that stuff. I’m gonna show them what they need to do better. That’s the only way I think I can teach ‘em.”
  • Nic Claxton has given the Nets a defensive anchor in the middle, and coach Jacque Vaughn believes he’s playing the best basketball of his career during the team’s 11-game winning streak, per Brian Lewis of The New York Post.

Atlantic Notes: Raptors, Vaughn, Fournier, Quickley

The Raptors have struggled lately, losing 13 of their past 20 games. Eric Koreen of The Athletic says there’s plenty of blame to go around for the team’s poor performance this season, and while injuries have certainly taken a toll, Toronto has been “uninspiring and predictable” on both ends of the court.

Quite simply, the Raptors do not fit, Koreen argues, noting that “developmental progress has stalled” in multiple areas. That’s on the front office for putting the team together, Nick Nurse and his coaching staff for not making the most of the available talent, and the players for not performing at a high level, according to Koreen.

After going 48-34 last season and claiming the East’s No. 5 seed, the Raptors have fallen to 16-20 thus far in 2022/23. Toronto’s defensive rating has dropped from ninth to 17th, and the team’s effort has been called into question multiple times.

Here’s more from the Atlantic:

  • The Nets started the season 2-5, but have gone 21-7 under head coach Jacque Vaughn after parting ways with Steve Nash. How has Vaughn guided such a dramatic turnaround? Brian Lewis of The New York Post has the details, including quotes from Vaughn and several players.
  • Evan Fournier saw his first playing time since November 13 in the Knicks‘ loss to the Spurs on Thursday, scoring 11 points on 4-of-6 shooting in 17 minutes, writes Peter Botte of The New York Post. The veteran wing says it wasn’t easy to be a healthy scratch for so long. “I’ve just tried to stay present this whole time. It was a lot easier to play than to actually sit on the bench and watch the guys play,” Fournier said. “Basically, the way I treated it when I first got benched, was just to stay ready. … Today I felt like I needed to be ready, just in case.” Fournier was reinserted into the rotation due to injuries to RJ Barrett and Jalen Brunson.
  • Immanuel Quickley recorded a career-high 15 assists on Tuesday and a career-high 36 points on Thursday, but those achievements don’t mean much to the third-year guard, according to Botte. “I mean, we lost both games. So career high or not, it kind of sucks. It don’t really matter because we lost,” Quickley said. “I’d rather win. Everybody looks for opportunities to come in and try to prove themselves. Whether I play 50 minutes or whether I play 25, I try to do my job, try to come out and play hard each and every game and be aggressive and just do my job. But you want to see those turn into wins, and we’re gonna get that done.”

New York Notes: Fournier, Reddish, Kemba, Warren, Durant

The Knicks were without Jalen Brunson on Tuesday in Dallas and lost RJ Barrett early in the first quarter due to a finger injury, but Evan Fournier and Cam Reddish still didn’t see any action, nor did they expect to, writes Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News.

“We already knew,” Fournier said. “So I’m not surprised.”

Fournier and Reddish were regulars for the Knicks earlier in the season, with Fournier starting seven games and Reddish starting eight. However, they’ve fallen out of the rotation completely in recent weeks, and they’re not sure what it’ll take to get another look, according to Bondy.

“I’m going to be 1000% honest with you — you probably know more about that than me,” Reddish said. “I have no idea. None.”

“It’s been six weeks that I’m not playing. I’ve been pretty patient,” Fournier said. “It’s starting to be a little long. Maybe there’s going to be an opportunity, I don’t know.”

Both Fournier and Reddish are candidates to be on the move prior to February’s trade deadline.

Here’s more on the NBA’s two New York teams:

  • Both Kemba Walker and Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau stressed that there are no hard feelings about how last season played out, writes Peter Botte of The New York Post. Walker referred to his decision to shut himself down in February as “selfish,” but pointed out that he wasn’t playing much and needed to get his body right. “The only issue we had with Kemba was health,” Thibodeau said. “If Kemba’s healthy, he’s a great guy and he’s a great player.”
  • Veteran forward T.J. Warren, who signed a minimum-salary contract with the Nets during the summer, is making a case to be the offseason’s best bargain, says Brian Lewis of The New York Post. After returning from a long injury absence, Warren is starting to hit his stride, setting new season highs with 23 points and eight rebounds in 27 minutes in Monday’s win over Cleveland. He’s also making an impact on the defensive end of the court. “What’s surprising was how good he is deflecting the basketball on defense,” teammate Kevin Durant said. “Scorers like him get a rap on defense, but he’s made an impact on that end. He’s a natural.”
  • The Nets‘ recent hot streak is proving that the front office’s decision not to trade Durant when he asked to be moved over the summer was the right one and showing why you hang onto a player of his caliber, according to Jonathan Lehman of The New York Post (subscription required).

Knicks Notes: Rose, McBride, Vucevic, Fournier, Orr

Veteran point guard Derrick Rose recently told reporters that as long as the Knicks keep winning, he’s fine with being out of the rotation — but that could change if they aren’t. The 15-13 Knicks have now won five straight games after head coach Tom Thibodeau replaced Rose’s minutes in favor of second-year guard Miles McBride — a stronger defensive player.

I can’t complain when we’re winning games,” Rose said, according to Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News (free account required). “If we were losing, I’d probably be mad. But we’re winning and playing basketball so I really can’t complain.”

Rose’s name has popped up a few times already in trade rumors, but he said that he hasn’t paid attention to the rumors – and likely won’t going forward — unless the Knicks start losing, per Bondy. Rose added that he’d prefer to stay with the Knicks.

Here are a few more notes from New York:

  • Rose continues to mentor McBride despite their role reversal, writes Zach Braziller of The New York Post. Rose praised McBride’s attitude and work ethic, saying he has “no ego” and is “professional.” McBride says he’s grateful to have a veteran like Rose in his corner, Braziller notes. “I couldn’t have asked for a better vet. I’m just very thankful he’s been able to take me under his wing,” McBride said. “Derrick is a great person, on and off the court. I think that’s the most important thing. One of the best things I’ve learned from him was not to get too high, not to get too low, because things change quickly in this league.”
  • The Knicks have only won 50-plus games once in the past 22 years — back in 2012/13 — and haven’t advanced past the second round of the playoffs since ’99/00. How can they break out of that cycle of mediocrity and emerge as a contender? Brian Wacker of The New York Post explores that topic ahead of the February trade deadline.
  • Evan Fournier set a Knicks record for most three-pointers made in a season in ’21/22, but he hasn’t played at all in 15 consecutive games after Thibodeau pulled him from the rotation in November. Fournier’s former teammate with the Magic, Nikola Vucevic, still thinks the 30-year-old wing “has a very major place in the NBA,” Bondy writes in another story for The New York Daily News. “Absolutely. He has many skills. His shooting is great. He’s great in the two-man game. A very smart player. Players like him are very needed around the NBA,” Vucevic told Bondy. “Not to start anything or whatever, but I’m sure if it doesn’t happen with the Knicks, I’m sure it’ll happen somewhere else.”
  • Louis Orr, an eight-year NBA veteran with the Pacers and Knicks, has passed away at age 64, according to The Associated Press. Orr averaged 9.7 points and 3.7 rebounds in his career from 1980-88, including six seasons with New York. He had a lengthy college and international coaching career after his playing days ended. We at Hoops Rumors send our condolences to his family and friends.

Trade Rumors: Bogdanovic, Fournier, Reddish, Beverley, Nunn

The Heat, Mavericks, and Hawks are among the many teams that have expressed trade interest in Pistons forward Bojan Bogdanovic, league sources tell Michael Scotto of HoopsHype. However, Scotto says Detroit has been “unwilling to engage” in discussions involving Bogdanovic.

According to Scotto, rival executives with interest in the 33-year-old forward are hoping that the Pistons’ stance will change before the February 9 trade deadline, especially now that franchise cornerstone Cade Cunningham will miss the rest of the season due to shin surgery.

Even if the Pistons eventually throw in the towel on this season though, there’s no guarantee they’ll make Bogdanovic available. James L. Edwards III of The Athletic observed earlier today that Detroit signed Bogdanovic to an extension beyond 2022/23 with an eye toward keeping him around as the team attempts to contend for the postseason, not to improve his trade value.

With Bogdanovic now locked up through the 2024/25 season (the final year of his deal has only a small partial guarantee), the Pistons would have opportunities to trade him down the road if they don’t do so at the 2023 deadline.

Here are a few more trade-related rumors from around the NBA:

  • Following up on Shams Charania’s report about the Knicks and Lakers discussing Cam Reddish and Evan Fournier, Scotto says the Knicks initially engaged the Lakers to see if they’d have any interest in taking on Fournier in exchange for Patrick Beverley and Kendrick Nunn.
  • Even though the Lakers like Reddish and have inquired on him multiple times within the past year, it’s unlikely that attaching him to Fournier would be enough to move the needle for L.A. in a Beverley/Nunn swap, Scotto writes. The Lakers can currently create approximately $30MM in cap room next summer, and Fournier’s contract (which includes an $18.9MM cap hit for 2023/24) would significantly compromise their flexibility.
  • Although several teams have some level of interest in Reddish, he’s viewed as more of a flier than a hugely valuable trade chip, according to Yossi Gozlan of HoopsHype. Given that Reddish will be a free agent in 2023 and is currently out of the Knicks‘ rotation, that doesn’t come as a surprise.
  • In case you missed it, we rounded up several trade rumors on Monday and passed along a few Pistons-centric rumors earlier today.