NBA rumors: Evan Fournier on free agency: No pressure

“As far as my free agency, I have no pressure at all really, because I have a player option regardless,” Fournier told me. “So when the moment comes, I’m just going to look at (stuff) and look at the numbers – and then make my decision. But there’s really no pressure.”

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But DeRozan is more likely to opt in with the Spurs. Among the likely free agents, there aren’t any five-alarm guys, but I do think Evan Fournier has a bit of a warning flag attached. He’s coming off a career year at 27 that featured shooting percentages far above his career norms, so he’s likely to regress. That would have a rebuilding Knicks team buying into a declining commodity. I have him projected at a $12.5 million value next season and likely to go further downward from there, and he’s going to get way more than that if he chooses free agency. (Fournier has a player option for $17.1 million.) He’s not a bad player, but he’s the wrong one for a team like the Knicks.
The team has major decisions ahead. Evan Fournier can become an unrestricted free agent once the offseason arrives, and the team would have to decide whether it wants to invest major long-term money in a player who has never made an All-Star team. If Fournier leaves, that would constitute a major change.
Evan Fournier ($17.2 million) could also see a nice raise or at least an incremental one. There should be suitors for him despite the dry market. His playmaking and scoring ability gives him a rotation spot on just about every team with or without cap space. He should be considered an extension candidate ahead of free agency as he currently can extend with the Magic for up to a maximum of $92.2 million between 2020-21 and 2023-24. If he opts out and is not offered long-term security, he could probably still earn more than $17.2 million on a one-year deal. Whether he opts out or not, he’s in an excellent position heading into the offseason because of his options.
The Orlando Magic believed in the talents of Evan Fournier so much so in 2014 that they willingly traded their then-leading scorer, Arron Afflalo, for the promising guard. Then, after watching Fournier blossom into one of their core pieces over the past two seasons, the Magic headed into this offseason determined to do whatever it took to retain the restricted free agent. GM Rob Hennigan, who found Fournier two seasons ago and promised earlier this offseason to re-sign Fournier, proved true to his word by keeping Fournier in Orlando.
Nikola Vucevic: Congrats to my brother @Evan Fournier!!! You deserved it by putting the work in everyday! Maybe now you'll pay for dinner sometimes
He sounded intent on remaining with the Orlando Magic. Fournier worked out for at least an hour at the Magic's Amway Center practice facility, and he insisted again that his preference is to stay with the team. "Obviously, our priority is the Magic," Fournier said. "I've said it many times: I feel great here."
Steve Kyler: Magic love Mario and are planning to re-sign Fournier. Can always trade one of them later. twitter.com/twotomortlieb/…
Evan Fournier: WHAT THE FUCK. Rudy Gobert: Come to Utah.
Fournier is on track to become a restricted free agent, which will give the Magic the opportunity to match any offer sheet he may sign from another team. "One of our biggest, if not our biggest, priorit[ies] is to make sure Evan stays with us," Hennigan said, "and we're confident we'll be able to do that."
Q: With Evan Fournier, the team faces a similar scenario to what the team faced with Tobias Harris last year. How will the team approach what appears to be restricted free agency on the horizon for Fournier? Rob Hennigan: We really value Evan. We’ve said that all along, and I’ll say about Evan what we said about Tobias, which is it’s our intention that he’ll be here for many years to come. We really, really like him and think he’s a great piece to continue to grow with our team.
Fournier is a pending free agent and the Magic have no idea what it will cost to keep him beyond this season. The Magic also are not sold that keeping Fournier at an inflated price tag is the best use of the free agent money. They played a similar hand with Harris last summer, trying to land Atlanta’s Paul Millsap before inking Harris to his long-term deal. The same is expected this summer.
The Magic will have the option to restrict Fournier’s free agency and see if there is a better place to put what could be $14-$16 million per season. If they can’t find a better option, they can always sign or match Fournier’s offers. If they choose to pass on Fournier altogether, they still have Oladipo, who will be one more season along in his career and maybe a more reliable shooter after another offseason of work.
For the first time in his NBA career, Magic SG Evan Fournier is in the last year of his rookie contract and can become a restricted free agent. He admits he can't help but think about it occasionally. "Of course. It is in the back of your mind," Fournier said. "You are trying to play your best basketball. When I started playing basketball, it's about winning championships and being a great player. That's what really motivates me, being great. I don't want to be a mediocre player or average. I know if I have a very good season, the money is gonna follow."
Is there enough money to go around, especially with SG Victor Oladipo on deck to receive an extension after next season? "That's a very good question," Fournier said. "But that's not really my decision. I don't really look at the next summer and everything. We have something pretty good going on right now. I feel like we can do something. [His future] is for at the end of the season."
Fournier's agents asked for big money in extension talks -- well north of $10 million per season, sources say -- but the Magic may end up regretting their decision to let him go into restricted free agency.
Q: Is there any reason Fournier and Magic couldn't work out a contract extension? Steve Kyler: Sure. Magic want a discount. Evan wants market. No reason to outbid yourself. They have a logjam at his spot too.
Fournier has said repeatedly that he'd like to remain with the Magic for the long term, and Magic officials are high on him. Not reaching an extension agreement could become a positive for Fournier. The new national TV deal will bring an influx of cash into teams' salary-cap figures. Many teams will be flush with cap space.
Fournier, who is in his fourth NBA season, was eligible to sign a contract extension with the Magic as long as it was finalized by Monday’s midnight deadline. No agreement was reached, meaning that the versatile wing player will become a restricted free agent on July 1. Orlando will have the right to match any contract offer that Fournier agrees to if it so chooses. ``The focus is on winning,’’ Fournier said. ``(Not getting the contract extension) is really no difference to me. I’m about playing basketball and winning and not contracts. It’s going to take care of itself this summer.’’
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Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: "There’s no room for players who do not want to get vaccinated"

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