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What does Evan Fournier’s trade market look like?

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An Evan Fournier trade is increasingly likely. Depleted by injuries to key men, the Orlando Magic should be sellers at the deadline. Fournier is on an expiring contract. The Magic are 14th in the Eastern Conference, and must be close to accepting this as a lost season.

The NBA trade deadline is on March 25th. While Nikola Vucevic being dealt remains a longshot, and Orlando could still try to build around Aaron Gordon, keeping Fournier makes little sense at this stage.

Orlando won’t get a massive return, but a couple of seconds or a heavily protected first is better than losing Fournier for nothing in the offseason. Maybe they could pick up another young player with upside to join Cole Anthony, Mo Bamba and Chuma Okeke.

Fournier is having a good season, tying his previous career-high in scoring. He’s an above average perimeter shooter, and he can do a bit of secondary playmaking. His 3.8 assists per contest this season is the best mark of his career. The defense is often perceived as his greatest weakness, and he’s by no means a plus on that end, but at 6’7, he’s got good size for a two or three.

If the Magic are open to a Fournier trade, contenders will have tough decisions to make. Earning $17 million a year, he’s not an option for every team. For many, though, that’s an easy number to get to.

Fournier trade destinations

The Boston Celtics are an obvious link to make. Boston has a record-breaking TPE to use. Fournier would give them a bit more of a scoring punch off the bench. He fits into the trade exception, and would enhance a Boston offense which has been limited at times.

       

His impending free agency might put Danny Ainge off a trade, however, as Fournier could walk at the end of the season and leave the Celtics using a large chunk of their TPE on a rental. Ainge hasn’t made a midseason trade in over half a decade, too, which suggests he needs to be blown away to make a move like this. Is Fournier enough of a difference-maker to break that streak?

Dallas is another team who could benefit from Fournier’s arrival. Either building a deal around James Johnson or Josh Richardson, the Mavericks could put a couple of seconds in to slot Fournier alongside Luka Doncic and Tim Hardaway Jr.

The Richardson trade has not worked out as hoped. Dallas is 25th in three-point percentage. Fournier would be a real boost for this team on the offensive end, and if they acquired him without giving up Richardson, it would open up further avenues to run small line-ups.

After acquiring Derrick Rose, the Knicks could be in on Fournier. Scoring is a must for the Knicks if they want to end their playoff drought. Fournier’s shooting would be a real boost, too, and the Knicks have the cap space to pull off a trade without giving up any players. Owning a raft of future seconds, New York could swing a Fournier trade without markedly depleting their resources.

While adding veterans risks limiting minutes for their young talents, the spacing provided by Fournier could really benefit RJ Barrett, Obi Toppin and Julius Randle.

Likelihood of a trade and free agency decisions

Any of these possible Fournier trades will split opinion. He’s not going to elevate a team to title contention, but the Magic wing can be more impactful than his reputation suggests. It would be a mistake to overlook the importance of his upcoming free agency. Fournier is a difficult player to predict when he hits the open market.

       

The Knicks, Mavericks and Celtics will want him to take a pay cut if he’s to stay long-term. Would Dallas be interested in giving up their cap space to Fournier? Would he be willing to stick in Boston as a sixth man? Should the Knicks be committing long-term money to a guy in his late-twenties?

A case can be made for other teams to trade for Fournier. Teams short of winning a ring will be hesitant to deal for a player of his caliber, however. Giving up assets for Fournier might be hard to justify when they could always pursue him in free agency.

There are unlikely to be any All-Stars getting dealt before the 25th March trade deadline, though. Fournier could yet be one of the more impactful players on the market.

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