Evan Fournier’s trade deadline addition improves the Boston Celtics

(Photo by Alex Menendez/Getty Images)
(Photo by Alex Menendez/Getty Images) /

The Boston Celtics acquired guard/wingman Evan Fournier from the Orlando Magic on trade deadline day this past Thursday. The deal for Fournier was too good for general manager Danny Ainge to pass up. In exchange for Fournier, the Celtics handed over the Magic just two second-round draft picks and Jeff Teague. The addition of Fournier brings a unique set of size, scoring, and consistency to this young Celtics team.

Evan Fournier is going to improve the Boston Celtics for at least the remainder of this season

The Celtics acquired Fournier during a career year for the nine-year veteran Frenchman. He is averaging 19.7 points per game and is shooting 38.8 percent from behind the arc this season, which is the third-highest on the Celtics behind Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. Fournier is also averaging 4.7 free throw attempts per game, which is the highest on the team. His ability to create scoring opportunities for himself and get to the free throw line is going to benefit the Celtics throughout the second half of the season.

"“With Evan, in particular, I thought this opportunity was unique, to add a player of his caliber. We’ve talked often about shooting with size. Here’s a 6-foot-7 kid who’s a good shooter and a good playmaker. He can handle the ball, just another creator for us. Very consistent player, and we’re excited to add him.” – Danny Ainge, via Nick Goss of NBC Sports Boston"

Ainge expressed that he wanted to make a move now rather than wait for the offseason because he wanted to give his team, along with his coach, a sense of hope to regather this season and compete for a playoff run.

"“I want our players to feel hope. I want our coach to feel hope. I sensed some discouragement internally with our guys. That was one reason we did something now opposed to waiting some time down the road.” – Danny Ainge, via Nick Goss of NBC Sports Boston"

The Boston Celtics had to tap into their traded player exception to acquire Fournier, who is currently on an expiring $17 million contract and will be an unrestricted free agent this summer. The deal leaves Boston with $11 million left in the TPE for them to use in the future. However, Ainge said that the plan was not to add Fournier for only the remainder of this season, but potentially signing him to a long-term contract in the offseason.

"“I think it’s a good use of our TPE. … We don’t acquire Evan with the idea that he’ll be with us just for this year. We acquire him with the idea he could be here potentially for a long time, like all the players we acquire.” – Danny Ainge, via Nick Goss of NBC Sports Boston"

The addition of a seasoned and consistent scorer like Fournier will stretch the floor on offense for Boston. It also gives the Celtics four proven and capable scorers that will be on the floor together more often than not with Kemba Walker, Tatum, and Brown. Equipping a lineup like that is going to cause problems for opposing defenses.

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Fournier on the court will also draw attention away from Tatum and Brown. As he’s been a consistent scorer throughout his entire career, defenses are going to have to respect him as such while on the court with Tatum, Brown, and Walker.

Having Fournier on the Celtics gives coach Brad Stevens room to play with his lineups and rotations a little more in the second half of the season. With Fournier, Stevens can also start to decrease some of the workload off of Tatum’s and Brown’s shoulders. Which is something he has been wanting to do all season.

The most ideal starting rotation at this point seems to be Walker, Fournier, Brown, Tatum, and Robert Williams. With this lineup, Stevens can take his time rotating players in and out of the game. And without worrying about taking any production away from the second unit. Which has also been an ongoing issue this season for the Celtics.

All in all, Fournier should thrive on a team like the Boston Celtics. And if it works out well, it would be great to see him sign a long-term contract with the Celtics this offseason. He could be the missing link to the core foundation of Tatum and Brown that Boston is building around.

With the NBA’s health and safety protocols, there’s a chance that Fournier could make his debut for the Celtics sometime during this next week of basketball. Perhaps even as soon as Monday night against the New Orleans Pelicans.

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