Evan Fournier was sharing the stage Tuesday morning with Kemba Walker, but perhaps it was fitting that he got his first opportunity to play a complementary role. If he was an afterthought at the news conference to Walker’s homecoming he might be a key piece to the Knicks’ hopes of ascending in the Eastern Conference.
"We identified Evan as a key addition as we entered free agency and are ecstatic that he’s joining us," New York Knicks President Leon Rose said in a statement. "He’s a great teammate, a fierce competitor, and a perfect complement to our returning players. He wants to be a part of what we are building here, and we are happy to have him join our family."
Rose was in the front row for the event alongside Tom Thibodeau and Scott Perry, but as has been throughout his tenure with the Knicks, he opted to avoid questions about the team’s rebuild. Only Fournier and Walker had the microphone on this day, but expect to share the stage with Julius Randle and RJ Barrett when the season begins, providing the holdovers with the sort of talent that they need.
"It was a hard team to play against," Fournier said. "They played hard. They played with discipline. They knew what they were going to do on the court and they executed very well. Teams like that are hard to beat because they don’t beat themselves. We have to play well to beat them. So looking at a team like that it’s clear that they practice well because throughout the season they kept getting better and better. As a player that’s exciting because you want to be part of a group that works, that wants to win."
The Knicks announced the signing Tuesday and in the deal they executed a sign-and-trade with Boston, bringing back a pair of future second-round picks in exchange for cash considerations.
Fournier was already very familiar to the Knicks, averaging 15.1 points per game for his career against them and playing for Perry when he was the Orlando Magic general manager. But they, along with the rest of the basketball world, got a good look at him when he led France to a silver medal in Tokyo last month.
"When I was on the phone with Leon, Thibs, Scott, the first thing Thibs told me was as soon as I wrapped up silver, I had to come to New York so we could talk. That was his way of talking a little bit of trash, and unfortunately, that's what happened. But I'm proud of what we accomplished for my country, and the goal is to keep shining for France and in three years we host the Olympics in 2024, so we'll see. We'll see."