Evan Fournier wants to run it back with same Knicks roster

Evan Fournier will play important basketball games this summer following this 2021-22 Knicks disaster when he competes for Team France in EuroBasket 2022, a FIBA ​​European championship event.

Knicks fans had hoped Fournier would be the missing piece elevating them to important games this spring and a better showing than last season’s 4-1 first-round ouster.

In a stunning twist, the Knicks regressed massively despite Fournier setting the franchise record for most 3-pointers in a season.
Fournier gave answers to the Knicks’ downfall in more succinct way than coach Tom Thibodeau offered. The Knicks head coach begged off in discussing the 37-45 failure until he “digs into it deep” during the next two weeks. Fournier blamed it on failing to find an “identity.”

“I think it’s that we didn’t find ourselves as a team,” Fournier said Sunday night after the season finale. “We never really found a rhythm and something we could go to every night to win games and close out games. We’ve been blowing leads a lot this year. I think that’s what matters the most. You have to find yourself as a team, your identity, what you do well, what you don’t do well and what you can go to down the stretch. It’s unfortunate that we weren’t able to find ways to win more games.”

Evan Fournier (13) wants to remain with the Knicks.
Jason Szenes

That sounds like Fournier is slightly putting the onus on Thibodeau, whose job is to figure out the best unit in the clutch. Thibodeau was often reluctant to play Fournier in the fourth quarter. Thibodeau has praised his team defense but was less impressed with him as a one-on-one defender.

If Thibodeau and Knicks brass determine Fournier wasn’t the perfect two-way fit and want to go younger, the final three years of his four-year, $78 million deal could be on the move despite his 241 3-pointers made, which topped John Starks’ mark of 217. Fournier turns 30 on Oct. 29.

“I’m hoping to stay,” said Fournier, who shot 38.9 percent from 3 and averaged 14 points. “But I’m hoping to honestly have the same team and just be able to win. I’ve said we had the right pieces and we have everything to be successful and I believe that. We have to find ourselves. So, when you go through a whole season with guys and coaching staff, you get attached to them and you want to have success with them. You go through tough moments, so I’m not hoping anything changes, to be honest.”

Evan Fournier (13) set the Knicks single-season franchise record with 241 3-pointers.
NBAE via Getty Images

When Fournier signed with the Knicks last August — during his run to the gold-medal game at the Tokyo Olympics — he talked about the big market and rabid fans being appealing. And those areas didn’t let him down. When playing in Orlando, Fournier was used to New York fans storming his home arena.

“It’s an incredible experience,” Fournier said of playing in New York. “It’s even better than what I expected. The disappointment of the season, it’s extremely frustrating. That I was living in New York, it was the one thing that kind of (made) me sane. Sometimes when you’re playing in a smaller market, all there is to think about and do is just basketball.

“Sometimes you can become extremely frustrated and it becomes toxic at home, because I’m frustrated, so it has an impact on my family, my wife. Being here was the one thing that kept me sane and happy to go to work every day. It’s just a special city with such a different energy. With this team, you know the city is gonna go crazy for you. So, that’s a huge motivation for next season.”

Fournier reports to France’s training camp on July 29 with EuroBasket beginning in September. By then, he will know if he’s going to have a second season as the Knicks’ starting shooting guard.


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