It wasn’t the huge splash Celtics fans were gearing up for but the Celtics did make a move at the NBA Trade deadline, acquiring forward Evan Fournier from the Orlando Magic in exchange for a pair of second round picks.
The Celtics will use a portion of their $28.5 million trade exception acquired in the Gordon Hayward deal to pay for Fournier’s $17 million salary.
Fournier was initially part of a larger rumored deal that included Magic power forward Aaron Gordon. But that trade never materialized as the Celtics were outbid by the Denver Nuggets for Gordon. Denver sent Orlando Gary Harris, RJ Hampton and a 2025 protected first round pick. It seems as though Ainge thought the Magic were asking too much for Gordon.
Fournier has had a strong season for the Magic averaging a career-high 19.7 points and 3.7 assists per game this season. He is attempting a career-best 7.2 3-pointers per contest and making 38.8% of them. He can score on all 3 levels as well as handle the ball and distribute. He could slot into a 3 wing starting lineup alongside Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, similar to what the Celtics employed last season with Gordon Hayward. Or come off the bench and help the Celtics struggling second unit offense.
“Evan has established himself as a highly-efficient scorer, whose combination of shooting and playmaking will make an immediate impact on this team,” Celtics president Danny Ainge said in a statement. “He’s someone who has consistently produced on the offensive end, and we think his unique abilities will fit in seamlessly with our current group.”
Fournier is an unrestricted free agent after this season. The Celtics could try and re-sign him or perhaps work a sign and trade with another team and create another Traded Player Exception.
To make the money work and remain under the luxury tax for this season Boston was forced to send starting center Daniel Theis to Chicago along with Javonte Green and $1.3 million in cash considerations while receiving centers Luke Kornet (via Chicago) and Moritz Wagner (via Washington). Jef Teague was also shipped out in a separate trade.