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Knicks' Evan Fournier Intended to Sign Celtics Contract; 'Glad' Free Agency Is Over

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVAugust 3, 2021

AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall

Evan Fournier reportedly agreed to a deal with the New York Knicks, but his first choice was to remain with the Boston Celtics after ending last season with the team.

"That was my priority going into the summer," he said of re-signing with Boston, per Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe. "Because I knew the place. I talked to Brad (Stevens) and we couldn’t get a deal done, obviously. But I had my options. It wasn’t necessarily Boston only but I was more inclined to sign there because they traded for me and I felt good while I was there.

"That’s the thing with free agency. It can go both ways."

He eventually agreed to a four-year deal worth up to $78 million with the Knicks, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald previously reported the Celtics were not willing to meet Fournier's asking price.

The 28-year-old, meanwhile, did not enjoy the process of free agency.

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"I'm glad it's over," Fournier said Tuesday, per Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press.

The France national has been competing at the Tokyo Olympics and told his agent not to wake him with free-agency talk.

The wing will now try to help the Knicks build off their breakout 2020-21 season. They finished fourth in the Eastern Conference to end a seven-year playoff drought, but limited scoring depth contributed to a first-round loss to the Atlanta Hawks.

Fournier believes he could be a perfect fit with his new team:

"They had a really good season, they had a spot open and I thought I could really help them. And yeah, it’s freakin’ New York. It’s fun. You want to be part of something big, have pressure. You want to be a guy that competes every night. I felt like New York was a great opportunity for me to live those big moments."

The veteran also mentioned playing for head coach Tom Thibodeau as a key factor for joining the team.

Julius Randle and RJ Barrett represented the go-to options offensively for New York last season, and Fournier represents another weapon after averaging 17.1 points per game last season between the Celtics and Orlando Magic.

Fournier only averaged 13.0 points per game after a midseason trade from Orlando, but he had big games down the stretch and averaged 15.4 points per game in five playoff games.

Boston also needs more scoring options behind Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum, although the squad traded for Josh Richardson in a deal with the Dallas Mavericks.  

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