Evan Fournier

Trade Rumors: Collins, Jazz, Clarkson, Fournier, Robinson, More

Many around the NBA thought it was a foregone conclusion that John Collins would be moved ahead of the draft this past summer, and Marc Stein writes in his latest Substack article that the Hawks power forward was “very nearly” dealt to the Kings in June.

Sources tell Stein that there’s “momentum building on all sides” for Collins to be traded during the 2022/23 season, so his name should be “right at the top of the list” of players most likely to be dealt before the February 9 deadline.

Stein confirms that the Jazz have shown interest in Collins, and that’s a noteworthy pivot for a team that many believed would be tanking and a frontrunner for a top lottery pick after dealing away Rudy Gobert, Donovan Mitchell and other veterans.

Speaking of Utah, a rival executive tells Stein that he thinks the Jazz are more likely to extend Jordan Clarkson‘s contract than trade him. Michael Scotto of HoopsHype hears similarly, saying there’s “palpable buzz” about a potential Clarkson extension.

Here are a few more trade rumors from Scotto, who takes a look at the top trade candidates for each NBA team:

  • The Knicks are reluctant to part with a first-round pick to move off Evan Fournier‘s contract, sources tell Scotto. Fournier has fallen out of New York’s rotation after a prolonged shooting slump and is owed $18MM this season and $18.9MM in 2023/24. In addition to Derrick Rose and Immanuel Quickley, rival executives also believe that second-year guard Miles McBride is available due to the team’s backcourt logjam, per Scotto.
  • The Heat have made Duncan Robinson available in trade talks, sources tell Scotto. That’s hardly surprising since Robinson, like Fournier, has struggled and fallen out of the rotation at times in ’22/23. The problem is Miami would almost certainly have to attach assets to deal Robinson, who is owed $57.5MM over the next three seasons, and it remains to be seen whether the Heat are willing to do so.
  • Echoing a previous report, Scotto writes that the Lakers were trying to offload Russell Westbrook to the Spurs for Doug McDermott and Josh Richardson before the season started. While LJ Ellis of SpursTalk.com stated that the Lakers were only willing to attach two second-round picks to Westbrook’s enormous expiring contract, Scotto hears the Lakers offered a lottery-protected first-rounder and the Spurs wanted that pick to be unprotected, which caused the talks to stall.
  • Center Nerlens Noel is not expected to finish the ’22/23 season with the Pistons, according to Scotto. It’s unclear if Scotto means he’ll be bought out at some point or moved in a trade, since Noel’s $9.2MM contract doesn’t have positive value given how many injuries he’s dealt with the past couple seasons.

New York Notes: Durant, Harris, Grimes, Fournier

Will Nets superstar forward Kevin Durant opt to once again demand a trade from a Brooklyn team that seems far, far away from title contention prior to the February 9 deadline? Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report takes a look at some realistic potential trade destinations for the 12-time All-Star if he revives his offseason trade request.

Pincus notes that the Raptors have plenty of intriguing assets, but does not anticipate they will ever include second-year star Scottie Barnes. Instead, he thinks they would center a possible offer around swingman OG Anunoby and future draft equity. Other possible scenarios suggested by Pincus include a Suns package highlighted by wing Mikal Bridges and draft picks, a Grizzlies offer featuring an intriguing young player like Desmond Bane or Jaren Jackson Jr. plus some draft capital, a Pelicans swap involving Brandon Ingram, a Knicks deal with RJ Barrett, and trades with the Warriors, Celtics and Lakers.

There’s more out of New York:

  • Speaking to Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports, Nets reserve forward Joe Harris discussed his efforts to remain on the court for the 2021/22 season, and his availability this season. “I thought that I could get back [last year], when the reality was that my ankle was not in a good spot,” Harris said. “I exhausted basically every single option that I could. Pretty much anything you could possibly think of to get me back on the floor.” 
  • Young Knicks reserve guard Quentin Grimes has been a healthy scratch in back-to-back games on Tuesday and Wednesday. However, head coach Tom Thibodeau isn’t considering sending Grimes down to the club’s NBAGL affiliate in Westchester for some playing experience, despite his absence from the rotation, per Zach Braziller of The New York Post“I think him being here with us is the best thing right now,” Thibodeau opined. Grimes said of his coach: “I know that he’s trying to do what he feels is the best for the team so we can go out there and win games.”
  • Knicks shooting guard Evan Fournier has fallen from a starting role earlier in the 2022/23 season to now being on the outside of the team’s rotation looking in. “It’s not easy,” Fournier said of the situation, per Zach Braziller of The New York Post. “I’ll tell you that.” The 30-year-old is earning $18MM this season. “I mean, you know I always try to put myself in other people’s shoes. [Thibodeau] is trying to find a solution… I don’t think he made that decision because he [doesn’t] like me or anything like it’s a personal thing. He just wants to win, man. He does whatever he thinks is best. I can argue whether that’s good or not, sure.” Fournier is logging just 6.9 PPG on a measly 34.4% shooting percentage this season.

Atlantic Notes: Fournier, Grimes, Robinson, Celtics, Melton

The Knicks used just nine players on Tuesday for the first time this season, removing Evan Fournier and Quentin Grimes from their rotation entirely, says Zach Braziller of The New York Post. The trimmed-down rotation was effective, as the team picked up a nice road win in Utah, beating the Jazz 118-111.

“We wanted to see what it would look like and it gave us, I thought, better rhythm,” head coach Tom Thibodeau said. “That’s why we did it.”

Fournier’s role has gradually diminished over the course of the season, so it wouldn’t be a surprise if he doesn’t get another shot at regular minutes right away. However, Grimes is considered a key part of the Knicks’ future and seems unlikely to be out of the rotation on a permanent basis.

Here are a few more items from around the Atlantic Division:

  • Thibodeau said on Tuesday that Knicks center Mitchell Robinson is “making good progress” in his recovery from a sprained right knee, but it remains unclear when he’ll be cleared to return, Braziller writes for The New York Post. According to Braziller, although Robinson is doing some work in practices, he’s not yet taking contact.
  • In the latest episode of his Hoop Collective podcast, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst said that people around the NBA think Spurs center Jakob Poeltl may be a trade target that appeals to the Celtics, given the uncertainty surrounding Robert Williams‘ health. “The question is, ‘Does this team need to go out and get another big man who can defend?'” Windhorst said, per RealGM. “The name that has come up that people have speculated has been Jakob Poeltl from the Spurs. They did a deal with the Spurs last year, obviously, for Derrick White.” Poeltl is eligible for unrestricted free agency in 2023 and it’s unclear if San Antonio views him as part of the team’s long-term plan.
  • While his arrival in the offseason was somewhat overshadowed by James Harden‘s pay cut and the signing of P.J. Tucker, De’Anthony Melton has proved invaluable to the Sixers due to his versatility and defensive ability, writes Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer.

New York Notes: Fournier, Knicks, Players-Only Dinner, Nets Injuries

Evan Fournier struggled in a starting role and has been even worse coming off the bench, Peter Botte of the New York Post notes. The Knicks shooting guard has missed all 10 of his shot attempts in the last two games and he has scored just 16 points in six games as a reserve.

“The thing is when you only shoot three times a game … it adds up. It adds up. And at the end of the season, you look at your [shooting] percentage and it’s not good,” Fournier said. “But it’s just hard to find a rhythm right now. I think not knowing the rotation, what’s coming your way, et cetera, et cetera. I have to do a better job of all that and just being in the moment, being ready for whatever.”

Fournier’s four-year, $73MM contract has turned into an albatross. He’s in the second year of the deal, though the club holds an option on the final year.

We have more on the New York teams:

  • The defensive breakdowns the Knicks displayed while giving up 145 points to Oklahoma City on Sunday could be due to a number of factors, writes Mark W. Sanchez of the New York Post (subscription required). A potential solution could be a coaching change and Tom Thibodeau is rumored to be on the hot seat. Rotation changes, or perhaps a blockbuster trade, could alternatively turn the team’s fortunes, Sanchez adds.
  • Could the Knicks have solved their problems over dinner? Julius Randle organized a players-only dinner in Utah on Monday as the team began a road trip, Zach Brazilier of the New York Post reports. “It was good, good to have a team dinner like that,” RJ Barrett said. “Try to figure this out the best that we can. We all care, trying to get this going on the right track.”
  • Injuries to Seth Curry, T.J. Warren and Ben Simmons, plus the ongoing suspension of Kyrie Irving, have forced the Nets to go deeper into their bench and alter their rotations, according to Ethan Sears of the New York Post. “It just puts us straight on everyone else,” head coach Jacque Vaughn said. “We put David Duke in, Patty [Mills] earlier, Markieff [Morris] earlier in our normal rotation. … It puts a strain on us when we are not completely whole, for sure.”

Knicks Notes: Barrett, Brunson, Grimes, Robinson, Fournier

As the Knicks were being torched for 145 points by the Thunder Sunday afternoon, two players they heavily invested in this summer were kept on the bench for most of the second half, writes Mark W. Sanchez of The New York Post.

RJ Barrett, who signed a four-year extension in September, picked up his fourth foul about two minutes into the half and never returned. Jalen Brunson, the team’s top target in free agency, checked out with 4:46 left in the third quarter and spent the rest of the game on the bench. Both players said they accepted the decision by coach Tom Thibodeau.

“I think it’s time (to sit) when you’re fouling enough,” Barrett said. “It falls on me for sure because I was guarding Shai (Gilgeous-Alexander), and he got me into some foul trouble. And that’s not good. I got to do a better job of not fouling.”

“I wouldn’t have played myself either, the way I was playing defensively,” Brunson added.

Immanuel Quickley and Cam Reddish sparked a late rally that ultimately fell short, and they played most of the fourth quarter alongside Julius Randle, Evan Fournier and Jericho Sims.

“We just got behind by so much,” Thibodeau explained when asked about Barrett’s benching. “We were looking for life, and that group that was in there gave us a little bit of a spark, and so that’s what we went with.” 

There’s more from New York:

  • Quentin Grimes logged just eight minutes Sunday in his third game since returning from soreness in his left foot, Sanchez notes in the same story. Thibodeau has called Grimes a “situational” player for now because the injury forced him to miss so much time since the start of training camp.
  • Mitchell Robinson has begun on-court workouts as he recovers from a sprained knee, but hasn’t resumed contact drills, Sanchez adds.
  • Being removed from the starting lineup hasn’t helped Fournier with his shooting slump, per Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News. Fournier misfired on all five of his shots from the field Sunday and has made just 6-of-31 over his last seven games. “I’m not gonna lie; I’m getting stiff on the bench now because I’m a little bit older. My knees can’t take it anymore,” Fournier joked. “But yeah, it’s not an excuse at all. I just have to figure it out myself so I can help the team. That’s all I can say, really.”

Knicks Notes: Grimes, Fournier, Rose

After feeling some foot soreness following the Knicks‘ 106-104 win over the Sixers last Friday, starting shooting guard Quentin Grimes was rested for the team’s subsequent two contests out of an abundance of caution, per Fred Katz of The Athletic (Twitter link). As Katz tweets, New York head coach Tom Thibodeau indicates that Grimes was a full participant in the club’s team practice on Thursday with no restrictions.

Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News reports (via Twitter) that Grimes had two MRIs on the sore foot — he’s not suffering from plantar fasciitis and doesn’t require surgery.

There’s more out of New York:

  • Knicks reserve shooting guard Evan Fournier has yet to play more than 14 minutes in a game since being moved to a bench role. Zach Brazilier of The New York Post suggests that Fournier may be in jeopardy of losing out on any rotation minutes due to his unproductive efforts as a backup. Thibodeau spoke diplomatically about Fournier, emphasizing his openness to the role reduction. “Some guys are on the outside of the rotation, but those things change really quickly,” Thibodeau said. “Whatever role you’re asked to play, star in that role. Embrace the role. Put the team first. I think we have a number of guys that have done that.”
  • Fournier is not the only Knicks veteran dealing with slashed run time. Injury-prone reserve combo guard Derrick Rose has also seen his on-court time reduced. Rose weighed in to the media recently on the shift, Bondy tweets. “I’m letting everybody be, man,” Rose said. “The last guy [Thibodeau] wants to hear from is the guy who has been in the league for 15 years going in and complaining and bitching.” Rose hasn’t played more than 18 minutes for New York all season. “I’m in the unknown,” Rose added about his current role with the club, per Steve Popper of Newsday (Twitter link). Through 11 games, the 34-year-old is averaging career lows of 12.7 MPG and 6.0 PPG, with .382/.355/1.000 shooting splits.

Atlantic Notes: Siakam, VanVleet, Fournier, Reddish, Sixers

The injury bug that first afflicted the Raptors‘ All-Star point guard is now affecting their All-NBA forward as well. As Dave Feschuk of The Toronto Star details, Pascal Siakam left Friday’s loss to Dallas in the third quarter due to a strained groin and didn’t return to the game. Toronto was already missing Fred VanVleet, who was sidelined for a third straight game due to lower back soreness.

While the Raptors have yet to issue an update on the severity of Siakam’s injury, they’re optimistic that VanVleet’s absence won’t last much longer.

“We had practice (Thursday), he went through full practice. I thought he’d probably be going tonight,” Raptors head coach Nick Nurse said before Friday’s game. “I’m expecting him back pretty soon.”

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • Knicks veteran wing Evan Fournier was displaced from the starting lineup on Friday and played a season-low 14 minutes, but he’s taking it in a stride, says Peter Botte of The New York Post. “We see it every year,” Fournier said of the lineup shake-up. “Last year with Kemba (Walker). So I’m going to do the best with what I have, try to impact winning and be a good teammate. That’s all you can ask for. Just do my best. Be a pro and take it from there…By doing your job.”
  • Quentin Grimes‘ ascension to the starting lineup didn’t affect Cam Reddish‘s role. As Zach Braziller of The New York Post writes, Reddish – who is in a contract year – scored 11 points on 4-of-4 shooting in 15 minutes and was a plus-19 in a two-point win over Philadelphia. “He was very good,” head coach Tom Thibodeau said. “Overall hustle, length, running the floor, moving without the ball, a lot of good plays.”
  • Rich Hofmann of The Athletic and Tim Bontemps of ESPN both consider what the new few weeks in Philadelphia will look like with Sixers star James Harden sidelined due to a foot injury. The club was also missing Joel Embiid on Friday, as the star center missed a third consecutive game due to a non-COVID illness.
  • In case you missed it, we rounded up several Nets-related items earlier this morning.

Knicks Notes: Grimes, Fournier, Robinson, Toppin, Randle

Head coach Tom Thibodeau didn’t sound like he was in a rush to make a change to the starting lineup after the Knicks lost their third straight game on Wednesday to the Hawks, writes Zach Braziller of The New York Post.

We’ll see how it unfolds,” Thibodeau said, when asked how much of a sample size is needed before considering a change. “So, you wanna make sure that you get a good look at everything.”

However, Fred Katz of The Athletic wrote prior to Friday’s 106-104 victory over Philadelphia that it would likely just be a matter of time before a change was made given Evan Fournier‘s defensive struggles and poor on/off numbers, and that turned out to be the case, with Quentin Grimes inserted as the starting shooting guard. Fournier wasn’t Grimes’ initial replacement either, as Immanuel Quickley was the first player off the bench.

Here’s more on the Knicks:

  • Grimes is still working his way back into game shape after making his regular season debut in garbage time on Wednesday. Thibodeau said he was unlikely to have a big role prior to Friday’s game, Braziller notes in a separate story. “He’s situational right now,” Thibodeau said on Thursday. “But we’ll take a look at it.” Even though he did end up starting, Thibodeau’s statement still held true, as Grimes only played 15 minutes.
  • Starting center Mitchell Robinson left Friday’s game during the first half and was unable to return, with the team announcing (via Twitter) that he was dealing with a sore right knee. It’s unclear at this time how serious his injury might be.
  • One beneficiary of Robinson’s absence was third-year forward Obi Toppin. Thibodeau has been hesitant to use him alongside Julius Randle, preferring a more traditional center with rim protection, but the Sixers were without Joel Embiid and had a small lineup themselves, so Thibodeau used the pairing in the fourth-quarter comeback to great results, according to Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News (subscriber link). As Bondy notes, Toppin scored 13 of his 17 points in the fourth. “That’s one of the first times [I saw the Toppin-Randle frontcourt],” said point guard Jalen Brunson. “I found it worked.

Knicks Notes: Reddish, Toppin, Barrett, SG, Barrett

Knicks wing Cam Reddish says he didn’t request a trade this offseason, according to Fred Katz of The Athletic (Twitter links), who points out that Marc Berman of The New York Post didn’t actually report that Reddish requested a trade, only that the 23-year-old preferred a change of scenery and a chance for a “bigger opportunity.”

That might seem like semantics, but there’s definitely a distinction between formally requesting a trade and what a player’s preference might be. Reddish only appeared in 15 games for the Knicks after they traded for him last season, averaging just 14.3 minutes per contest. When asked if the Knicks have made it clear what he needs to do to receive regular playing time, Reddish admits he isn’t sure.

I’m still figuring that out. That’s actually a really good question,” Reddish said, per Ethan Sears of The New York Post. “I’m still figuring that out, trying to find my role where I fit in. I’m really willing to do whatever it takes to win. Whatever that role is, whatever it may be, that’s fine with me. We’re winning, we all look good.”

Considering his lack of a clear rotation role, Reddish was then asked if he wanted to stay with the Knicks, but gave a non-answer.

I control what I can control,” he said. “So minutes and all that stuff have nothing to do with me. I just come in and do my job. Work as hard as I can every single day. I’m available, I’m healthy. So whatever happens, happens.”

For his part, head coach Tom Thibodeau was noncommittal about Reddish’s role, as Ian Begley of SNY.tv relays.

The players are going to earn what they get. We have good depth (at wing). I can’t tell you right now who’s in the rotation, who’s not in the rotation,” Thibodeau said on Wednesday when asked if he thinks Reddish will be in the rotation this season. “That’ll be earned. And then if someone’s not in the rotation initially, doesn’t mean that they stay there.”

If he doesn’t receive a rookie scale extension before next month’s deadline, Reddish will be a restricted free agent in 2023 if the Knicks issue a qualifying offer.

Here’s more on the Knicks:

  • Third-year forward Obi Toppin spent the offseason working on his jump shot and defense, Sears writes in another article for The New York Post. Toppin says he feels better about his perimeter defense heading into 2022/23. “Guarding guards like Jalen [Brunson], for instance, in pickup games here or guarding guards like Coby White in L.A. … helped me a lot,” Toppin said. “I feel like even if I can’t get down low, I have to find a way to stay in front of them, still contest their shots and make it hard for them to do things. I feel like I worked on that this summer and I’m a lot better now.”
  • Thibodeau didn’t sound enthusiastic about having Toppin and Julius Randle share the frontcourt at times, Begley notes. The Knicks will “take a look” at the pairing during preseason, according to Thibodeau, who says the duo hasn’t been effective in practices over the past two years. As Begley observes, if Toppin and Randle don’t play much together, an increase in Toppin’s minutes will likely have to come at Randle’s expense — Randle has averaged 36.4 minutes per night over the past two seasons.
  • Zach Braziller of The New York Post (members-only link) explores the pros and cons of who should start at shooting guard between Evan Fournier and Quentin Grimes. Braziller ultimately concludes that Grimes is the better fit due to his defense and upside, though he understands why Thibodeau values Fournier’s outside shooting and experience. Thibodeau considers Fournier the frontrunner for the job. Both players sat out today’s practice, per Begley (Twitter links). Grimes is considered day-to-day with left foot soreness, while Fournier has soreness after competing at EuroBasket. Neither issue is considered major.
  • RJ Barrett showcased his ability get into the paint last season, but he needs to improve his finishing to take his game to the next level, Katz writes for The Athletic. Out of 44 qualifying players who took five-plus shots at the rim in ’21/22, Barrett ranked last in field goal percentage, Katz notes. According to DunksAndThrees.com, Barrett shot just 52% at the rim last season, which ranked in the ninth percentile of all players.

Knicks Notes: Brunson, Randle, D. Rose, Fournier

Jalen Brunson landed a four-year, $104MM contract with the Knicks this summer, but he didn’t enjoy the free agency experience, writes Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News. Brunson was among the top free agents in this year’s market and the rumors that he was headed to New York started before last season was over, but all the attention made him uncomfortable.

“Free agency was kind of awful, how public it got,” Brunson said at Media Day. “Not going to lie to you. For me, I’m a very simple person. I loved the opportunity to come back east, in a familiar area where I grew up, somewhat close. I’m just really excited for this opportunity with these guys. I think we can do something special.”

Reports that Brunson was joining the Knicks emerged before free agency officially opened on June 30, resulting in an NBA investigation of the team for possible tampering. Brunson said he hasn’t been contacted by the league, but he contends that “a lot of things” about his situation were misreported.

“My reaction to the league investigating? I didn’t really have one,” he said. “Nothing really to investigate.”

There’s more from New York:

  • Coming off a difficult season, Julius Randle spent some time away from the game this summer to recalibrate, Bondy adds in the same piece. He lost weight during the offseason and reported to camp with a fresh outlook. “When it’s good, it’s easy to be a leader,” Randle said. “When things aren’t as good and you’re going through adversity, I think it’s even more important. So, I learned a lot.”
  • Also noticeably lighter was Derrick Rose, who dropped about 20 pounds in response to a challenge from head coach Tom Thibodeau, Bondy states in a separate story. Rose also explained the complications that prevented him from returning after undergoing ankle surgery in mid-December and responded to a statement from team president Leon Rose, who called him the “heart and soul” of the group that reached the playoffs in 2020/21. “I wouldn’t say I was the heart and soul, but I wanted to win. I can say that,” Derrick Rose said. “I think what this year’s all about is accountability. Like being able to not get in your feelings or taking it personal when somebody comes over and gives you constructive criticism. As a man and as a professional, you’re supposed to understand that.”
  • Thibodeau named Evan Fournier as the frontrunner to start at shooting guard heading into camp, tweets Ian Begley of SNY.tv. “With Jalen, with RJ (Barrett), with Julius we need shooting (at the two),” Thibodeau explained.