The Detroit Pistons reportedly pursued a trade for Evan Fournier of the Orlando Magic. The Utah Jazz could eventually be in the mix too.
Marc Stein reported that the Magic are likely shopping three of their key players (via the New York Times):
“Rival executives expect Jeff Weltman, Orlando’s new team president, to aggressively hunt for new homes for the likes of Evan Fournier, Elfrid Payton and Mario Hezonja, given that Nikola Vucevic’s broken finger is likely to preclude dealing the center.”
Fournier, who vacationed in Utah over the offseason, is presumably the most attractive trade chip mentioned in the aforementioned report. The Frenchman has obvious connections to Utah’s star player Rudy Gobert, who he played alongside at the 2014 World Cup and at the 2015 Eurobasket tournament.
Gobert has taken to Twitter to try to recruit his friend to join him on the Jazz.
It makes sense Gobert would be interested in Fournier, who ranks Top 10 overall in points scored off screens (3.1 per game) so far this season. Only three teams have a lower score frequency (37.4 percent) than the Jazz on this play type so far this season. This is a way he can provide immediate value to diversify their offense.
Fournier is above average when cutting to the basket and he has been elite from midrange. In fact, the only high-volume shooter who has a higher field goal percentage on shots taken from between 16 feet and 24 feet of the basket is Stephen Curry.
As a spot-up shooter, his score frequency (49.5 percent) and his scoring efficiency (1.31 points per possession) are both second-best in the league among those with as many opportunities. Utah has called spot-up plays more often than all but two teams in the league, which shows Fournier can fit right in with their offense.
His effective field goal percentage (63.3 percent) on catch-and-shoot attempts ranks Top 10 among high-volume shooters. The Jazz, meanwhile, rank in the Bottom 10 for effective field goal percentage on this shot type.
Fournier is familiar with more of the personnel in Utah than just Gobert. Igor Kokoskov, an assistant for the staff, was also one of his assistants in Orlando back in 2015. If the Magic have interest in any of Utah’s players (Alec Burks comes to mind), Fournier could be a great fit on the Jazz.