Knicks’ Evan Fournier has no relationship with Tom Thibodeau, is ready to leave New York

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Evan Fournier is still a member of the New York Knicks, though you couldn’t be blamed for not realizing that. He barely played for the Knicks after the first month of the 2022-2023 season and didn’t spend a single minute of the playoffs on the court. That was a pretty big change, since Fournier had spent the last nine years as a starter (including the 2021-2022 season he spent with the Knicks).

While Fournier is still on the Knicks, he’s very ready to move on and not be a Knicks player anymore. In an interview with L’Equipe, the French-born Fournier opened up about his disastrous year in New York, and he didn’t pull many punches.

According to Fournier, head coach Tom Thibodeau did a very poor job of letting him know why he was being moved to the bench after starting and playing a lot of minutes over the first month of the season. And when the move was made permanent, he apparently didn’t tell Fournier why.

“When he took me out of the five, he just told me he was going to try something else,” Fournier told L’Equipe via basketnews.com. “Then at the first match of a road trip, he announced to me that I was leaving the rotation, and ciao.”

When Fournier was asked about his relationship with Thibodeau, he had nothing to say, and for good reason.

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“I have nothing to say because I have none,” Fournier said of his relationship with Thibodeau.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JANUARY 02: Evan Fournier #13 of the New York Knicks in action against the Phoenix Suns at Madison Square Garden on January 02, 2023 in New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. New York Knicks defeated the Phoenix Suns 102-83. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

Evan Fournier is still a Knicks player, but he’s really ready to not be a Knicks player anymore. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

What does the future hold?

When it came time to discuss Fournier’s future with the Knicks, he said he expects to be traded since it’s the only move that makes sense for New York. He’s owed $18.9 million next season, the final guaranteed year of the four-year, $73 million deal he signed in 2021 with the Knicks.

“I would be very surprised to be a Knick next year. They pay me 18 million, they have no interest in keeping me,” he said.

“If you want to trade me with a good return, why didn’t you use me? I was coming out of a season where I was the fourth-best 3-point shooter in the league. Why not take advantage of it?” Fournier told. “Now they won’t get anything interesting and that’s normal because I couldn’t show anything [on the court].”

In fact, Fournier said that being traded is the only way he’ll be able to continue playing, since the Knicks appear to have no plans to reinsert him into the starting five.

“I’m going to be traded, it’s not possible otherwise. Or I’d be stuck, and so would they. They have several players with big contracts coming in. Unless they want to pay a crazy luxury tax… If I stayed, it would be a disaster basketball-wise for my career,” Fournier was blunt. “I can manage a year without playing. Two… that would be terrible.”

Because Fournier is French and he was interviewing with a French newspaper, he was asked about the possibility of joining his countryman Victor Wembayama on the San Antonio Spurs. Fournier was non-committal, but generally positive about that possibility.

“I want a spot where I can have fun again, where I can be myself. Would their game be more suited to me? It’s not the Spurs of 2014 anymore but playing for Pop (Gregg Popovich), learning from him, it would be a pleasure and an honor, for sure,” he said. “Afterward, being with Victor, looking at the [upcoming Paris] Olympics, being able to start connecting on the court, that would be great.”

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