Now in his seventh year with the Orlando Magic, Evan Fournier’s importance to the team has not dwindled. Evan Fournier is still putting up big scoring numbers — a career-best 18.5 points per game and a 54.3-percent effective field goal percentage — and offers reliable perimeter shooting on a roster that lacks it so much.
But having entered the last year of his contract, the time is approaching for the front office to decide whether to move him on and get something back before he enters unrestricted free agency.
This will depend on what the team’s goals are. With a tough second-half schedule and a roster which has been decimated by injuries, hopes of a playoff spot are slipping away. Orlando is better off looking toward the future than trying to stay in the fight for a play-in spot.
Trading Fournier would be a big part of the team changing its goals.
The Orlando Magic will be weighing a lot as the trade deadline approaches in three weeks. Trading Evan Fournier and getting some return that makes sense is at the top of the priority list.
His ability to score and create from the perimeter has been a big part of why the Magic are not rock bottom of the Eastern Conference. That and the fact the Detroit Pistons are all-in on development and the future.
The fact Fournier has missed a lot of the season with back spasms has played a part in why the results have been so poor. When Fournier is on the court, this Orlando team is far better. The burden is taken off Nikola Vucevic somewhat, though not completely, and opposing defenses have more to worry about.
But the Magic risk losing him for nothing should he stay until the end of the season. At 28, Fournier still has much of his career ahead of him and would slot in well to a team looking to make a run in the postseason.
This is why Orlando should look to move him before the deadline passes. While a deal to get back equal value is unlikely to be reached, getting back something for the future as the team tries to build around Markelle Fultz and Jonathan Isaac must be a priority.
Here are three destinations that make sense for an Evan Fournier deal:
The Philadelphia 76ers have enjoyed an incredible season so far. Ben Simmons is playing the best basketball of his career, Joel Embiid is arguably the favorite to win the MVP award and better floor spacing under Doc Rivers has helped establish the team as legitimate title candidates.
But there is always room for improvement. The 76ers have enough to make a title run but adding more shooting and offensive potency can strengthen the team’s chances further.
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For a team that sits atop the Eastern Conference, Philadelphia only sits 14th in the rankings for offensive rating with 111.5 points per 100 possessions. Much of the success so far has been built on solid defense thanks to the likes of Simmons and Embiid. But adding more offensive talent should be a focus before the deadline.
This is where Evan Fournier comes in. Fournier is averaging 18.5 points per game this season and would essentially act as a third scorer behind Joel Embiid and Tobias Harris on a team that also has offensive threats in Ben Simmons and Seth Curry. He could step straight into the small forward spot vacated by Danny Green, providing better scoring while being able to defend the perimeter well enough.
His ability to knock down threes, shoot off the dribble and make plays from the perimeter would be perfect for this 76ers team.
Green has played his role well so far and would probably not be thrilled at being sent down to an Orlando team that has little hope of making the playoffs but he too is an expiring contract. He could even get bought out to rejoin a contending team elsewhere (although the Magic would then have a major hole at shooting guard).
This just leaves the issue of what else the Magic can get.
Evan Fournier is an immediate upgrade on Danny Green but might not be enough for the 76ers to give up a prospect like Tyrese Maxey or Matisse Thybulle.
There might be an opportunity to work out a deal involving some of the Magic’s other players to get one of these two. But for now, obtaining a 2021 first-round pick seems like a realistic target. The 76ers are fully focused on winning a championship and will receive one of the last first-round picks this year so could be tempted to give it up for the chance to strengthen the team in the short-term.
This is not exactly an eye-watering trade from the Magic’s perspective but there’s always the chance of uncovering a decent player low in the first round. Just as Rudy Gobert showed.