Veteran sharpshooter rips Knicks, coach following tough season

The New York Knicks achieved their highest win total in 10 years during the 2022-23 season and made the Eastern Conference semifinals for the first time since 2013.

Evan Fournier is one member of the team who didn’t enjoy himself though.

The veteran sharpshooter’s 27 games played were a career low and his minutes (17.0), points (6.1), rebounds (1.8) and assists (1.3) per contest were the lowest since his 2012-13 year. Fournier’s field goal (.337) and three-point field goal percentages (.307) were also the worst he’s ever posted.

After playing and starting in 80 games during his first full campaign with the Knicks in 2021-22, Fournier lost significant court time this past year as head coach Tom Thibodeau decided to go with the younger players. Each of New York’s top-10 players in games during the 2022-23 season were 28 years old or younger.

“You want to spit on everyone. You have hatred. Derrick Rose and I looked at each other and said to each other: ‘What the hell are we doing here?'” Fournier said in an interview with Yann Ohnona of L’Equipe. “During the five-on-five practice, we were on the side like some prospects. Uncool times.”

The former Denver Nuggets first-round pick was critical of Thibodeau as well.

“I have nothing to say because I have none,” Fournier said of his relationship with the two-time NBA Coach of the Year. “When he took me out of the five, he just told me he was going to try something else. Then at the first match of a road trip, he announced to me that I was leaving the rotation, and ciao.”

After two seasons with the Nuggets to begin his career, the 30-year-old suited up for the Orlando Magic for six-plus years. Fournier was traded to the Boston Celtics for one-time All-Star Jeff Teague in March 2021 and then traded for the third time in his career in August of that year to the Knicks.

Although he still has one guaranteed year left on his contract with New York, Fournier said he’d be “very surprised” to be on the squad next season.

“If you want to trade me with a good return, why didn’t you use me? I was coming out of a season where I was the fourth-best three-point shooter in the league. Why not take advantage of it?” he said. “I would be shot (coming back to New York). I’m going to be traded, it’s not possible otherwise. Or I’d be stuck, and so would they. They have several players with big contracts coming in. Unless they want to pay a crazy luxury tax…If I stayed, it would be a disaster basketball-wise for my career.”

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