The Clippers just acquired a playmaking shooting guard to bolster their backcourt rotation. Now, a similar player is angling to make his way out West.
Evan Fournier, who is the final year of his contract with the Orlando Magic, is interested in making his way to the Clippers or another Western Conference team, per reporting from Zach Harper of The Athletic:
This is strange news because Fournier deliberately opted in to the final season of his five-year deal earlier this week. If he were trying to play somewhere else, it probably would have been easier to accomplish as an unrestricted free agent, rather than in a trade, but it is admittedly hard to turn down $17 million in guaranteed money.
Nevertheless, this complicates his pursuit to join the Clippers (and the other two teams). LA could engage in a sign-and-trade to acquire Fournier, but the Magic are deepest at the forward positions, which is all the Clippers have to offer in terms of their internal free agents (Montrezl Harrell, Marcus Morris Sr., and JaMychal Green).
LA could also send Patrick Beverley in exchange for Fournier, a swap of starting guards. The logic of this move is a little less clear, however. Fournier certainly provides a little more creative juice than Beverley, and he also shot 39.9 percent on 3-pointers last season, which is better than the Clipper. Neither player is really a point guard, however, and putting Fournier in the starting lineup doesn’t help the team’s playmaking deficit. The defensive drop-off between Beverley and Fournier is also dramatic.
The Clippers may have considered Fournier with their mid-level exception had Fournier chosen to become a free agent, but pursuing him at this cost makes little sense. If Fournier wants to make a move to the Western Conference, he’ll likely have to find a different destination.