Why an Evan Fournier trade is possible until July

The Boston Celtics could get a mulligan of sorts last summer when they allowed French guard Evan Fournier – who was taken on for two second-round picks and Jeff Teague at the 2021 NBA trade deadline – to go in a sign-and to the last July New York Knicks to go-act.

This sign-and-trade resulted in a $17.1 million exemption for traded players who passed the Cs during the Feb. 10 trade deadline, but the Boston front office could take advantage of it before it expires on July 18.

Apparently the man they can add to their payroll with the Fournier TPE is the very same one they traded away to create it in the first place. That’s right: Fournier could actually be won back with its own TPE.

Spotrac’s cap tracker Keith Smith revealed on CelticsBlog the details of how and when such a deal could go ahead:

“Typically, teams aren’t allowed to win back a player they’ve traded away for a year. Because Fournier’s sign-and-trade occurred between seasons, this restriction only applied to the previous season, not the previous league year. So, yes, Boston could trade for Fournier via the TPE that was originally developed for him.”

The Boston Celtics are unlikely to trade for Evan Fournier

Honestly, there are better ways to spend the Fournier TPE than Evan Fournier. The French guard shot efficiently (39%) on 7.7 3-point attempts per game with the New York Knicks last season but couldn’t match the Orlando Magic anywhere else.

This lends credence to the idea that Fournier’s numbers tend to be better when seen on a non-contender. While the Magic made it through the 2019 and 2020 postseasons, they only had two wins between the two first-round gentleman sweeps.

Fournier is a good third or fourth option for a competitor, but he’s paid like a No. 2 star while ranking in the top 75 for NBA player salaries. If Boston Celtics president of basketball operations Brad Stevens wanted Wyc Grousbeck to be the one to write the checks, he could have made it happen when he got the chance last summer.

That he didn’t, and that Fournier continued to post his fourth-worst PPG performance of his decade-long NBA career, likely means the Knicks will have to look elsewhere if they want to terminate the 29-year-old’s contract.

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