After spending six and a half years in Orlando, Knicks guard Evan Fournier knew he was on the way out last season when he heard that the Magic sent Nikola Vucevic to Chicago, writes Marc Berman of The New York Post. Orlando purged most of its veteran talent at the trade deadline as the team committed fully to rebuilding. Within a few hours, the Magic finalized deals involving Vucevic, Fournier and Aaron Gordon.
“Once they pulled the plug with Vuc — because Vuc got traded first to Chicago — I remember it was the one year where I felt, OK, this might happen for real now,’’ Fournier said. ‘When I saw Vuc, I was with my wife at home like, ‘Yeah, honey, we out,’ because obviously you trade Vuc. Then it was myself, then it was Gordon.’’
Fournier, who was dealt to the Celtics before signing with New York over the summer, is glad to be in different surroundings as he prepares to face his former team for the second straight game. With a roster full of young players, the Magic may be looking at several years before they return to the playoffs.
“That’s a rebuild, so a rebuild takes time,’’ Fournier said. “It is definitely gonna take them time to figure it out. It’s not my problem anymore.’’
There’s more from the Southeast Division:
- Rival teams view Hawks forward Cam Reddish as a strong trade candidate, according to Michael Scotto of Hoops Hype. Atlanta made Reddish available at the March deadline and again heading into the draft, but couldn’t find the right deal, Scotto states. One executive told Scotto that teams would be willing to offer a protected lottery pick for Reddish.
- Executives around the league expect the Magic to eventually trade Terrence Ross to a playoff team, Scotto adds in the same piece. Orlando was seeking a first-round pick in exchange for the veteran swingman last season, but teams may not be willing to meet that price. “He’ll be moved,” an unidentified executive said. “They were trying to move him at the draft. They wanted to put him in a place where he could win. I think he’s worth a couple of second-round picks.”
- Kyle Kuzma, who was part of the Wizards‘ return for sending Russell Westbrook to the Lakers, believes the deal has made Washington a better team, per Chase Hughes of NBC Sports. “I mean, you gotta do that trade 10 out of 10 times,” Kuzma said. “If you have an opportunity to get five good basketball players for one, it makes sense. Granted, (Westbrook is) obviously a Hall of Fame player and everything. He’s an unbelievable player, don’t take that wrong. But especially for a team like Washington, if you look at the track record from the past couple of years, it hasn’t necessarily been enough ballplayers here. … It’s smart, you have to do it if you’re a GM.”