The New York Knicks finally landed a coveted free agent. They also managed to retain their own.
Evan Fournier agreed to a four-year contract from the Knicks that could be worth as much as $78 million, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski. New York owns an option on the fourth year of the deal.
The Knicks also retained several of their own key free agents from last season's surprising 41-31 record, which earned them the fourth playoff seed in the Eastern Conference. Derrick Rose, Nerlens Noel and Alec Burks each re-signed for three more years in New York, according to Wojnarowski. They will respectively earn $43 million, $32 million and $30 million from the Knicks through the 2023-24 campaign.
Fournier averaged 17.1 points (on 46/41/79 shooting splits), 3.4 assists and three rebounds in 30 minutes over 42 games split between the Orlando Magic and Boston Celtics last season. The Celtics traded a pair of second-round picks for Fournier at the deadline. He was among Boston's priorities this offseason, but this week's trade for Josh Richardson signaled the team may not be willing to meet Fournier's asking price.
The Knicks get the playmaking wing they coveted when they pursued Gordon Hayward last offseason. Hayward left the Celtics for the Charlotte Hornets. Fournier is an upgrade from Reggie Bullock, who left for the Dallas Mavericks in free agency. Bullock shot 41% from 3-point range last season, but Fournier adds another playmaking dimension to a team already boasting Julius Randle and R.J. Barrett on the wings.
Fournier's deal was reported soon before he led France into a quarterfinal game at the Tokyo Olympics. He averaged 17.3 points over his country's first three games, including 28 in an upset win over Team USA.
Reunited with former coach Tom Thibodeau in New York, the 32-year-old Rose averaged 14.9 (49/41/88 splits), 4.2 assists and 2.9 rebounds in 26.8 minutes off the bench for the Knicks last season, continuing his resurgence after knee injuries derailed the one-time MVP's career from 2012-18. Rose finished third in this year's Sixth Man of the Year voting behind Utah Jazz teammates Jordan Clarkson and Joe Ingles.
The first few hours of free agency were a far cry from years past, when the team essentially apologized to its "disappointed" fans in a news release following failures to sign Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. Fournier may not be on that level as a free agent, but he was among the best players to change teams in this class.
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