New York Knicks Evan Fournier Heads to Eurobasket, Tournament Could Shape Future Trade

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New York Knicks Evan Fournier Heads to Eurobasket, Tournament Could Shape Future Trade

New York Knicks shooting guard/small forward Evan Fournier will have a chance to shape his future when he plays for France in the Eurobasket tournament. The games, which run from Sept 1. through Sept 18, will also give sports bettors a new opportunity to cash in.

New York Knicks Evan Fournier
New York Knicks Evan Fournier
Evan Fournier faces off against Cody Martin during a Knicks vs. Hornets Game. Fournier will play for France in the upcoming Eurobasket tournament. (Image: AP)

Fournier was one of the driving forces behind the French national team defeating the United States at last summer’s Olympics before the Americans got revenge in the gold medal game. Another good showing in Eurobasket would enhance his potential trade value.

Fournier has reportedly been offered to the Utah Jazz along with Obi Toppin and five, first-round draft picks by the Knicks in their pursuit of Donovan Mitchell.

This offer was reportedly rebuffed over concerns about if there will be lottery protection on some of those picks. The Jazz have already offloaded Rudy Gobert to the Minnesota Timberwolves in exchange for five players, four first-round picks, and a pick swap. (One of the players was NCAA Defensive Player of the Year Walker Kessler, who could be in the running for Rookie of the Year if he becomes Utah’s starter at center).

Fournier vs. Mitchell

That premium price is making a deal for Mitchell exceedingly difficult for the Knicks, who are trying to bring the Westchester County product back to his roots but are held hostage by Jazz executive Danny Ainge’s price tag.

It is no coincidence that word leaked last week that the Charlotte Hornets and Washington Wizards are also interested in Mitchell — a thinly veiled attempt at the Jazz trying to create leverage by planting a story in the NBA rumor mill.

That’s part of the NBA summertime game, and Rose has been around the league long enough as both an agent and executive to know what is going on. Whether it leads him to increase his offer remains to be seen, but Knicks fans need to prepare themselves to open the season with Fournier instead of Mitchell as their best outside marksman.

What Fournier can do for France will go a long way toward informing Knicks fans about whether they’re better off keeping him rather than mortgaging the future for Mitchell. On Saturday night, he scored 24 points for France in a double-overtime loss in a friendly against Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Big Competition

European players take the Eurobasket tournament quite seriously, and the effort they expend for their national teams is sometimes greater than what they give to their NBA teams. That’s one of the dirty little secrets of the NBA regarding relationships with international basketball federations.

France isn’t favored to win Eurobasket, which is somewhat surprising, given their success last summer in Tokyo. The favorite is Serbia at +300 because of the presence of two-time reigning MVP Nikola Jokić. Dallas Mavericks star Luka Doncic and Slovenia are second at +470. France is priced at +550.

Fournier will be joined by Gobert and former Brooklyn Net Timothé Luwawu-Cabarrot for a team that went 5-1 at the Tokyo Olympics. They beat the Americans in their first game and defeated Slovenia 90-89 in the semifinals behind 23 points and four 3-pointers by Fournier.

Crowning a Champ

France is in the toughest preliminary round group, joining Slovenia, Germany, Lithuania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Hungary in Group B. The French will play Slovenia in their fifth and final game of the first round in Koln, Germany, which includes five games in seven nights (yes, FIBA goes hard when it comes to back-to-backs).

Four teams will advance to the knockout round, which will take place in Berlin from Sept. 10-17. It won’t matter whether France finishes first, fourth, or somewhere in between in the prelims. What matters is whether they can win their final four games to be crowned Eurobasket champions for the first time since 2013.

The Odds are Guaranteed to Change

Here’s what gamblers should watch for: if France stumbles in the opening round of Eurobasket, that +550 price is going to get longer. But remember, four teams from each group make the knockout round, and France will almost definitely be one of them (Hungary and Bosnia-Herzegovina are among the longest shots in the field.)

If and when France loses in the prelims, shop around at the nine New York sportsbooks (or elsewhere if you’re outside of New York) for the best Eurobasket MVP odds. Then pounce on Fournier, especially if France is coming off a loss.

The sportsbooks are posting World Cup qualifier game odds and Eurobasket title odds, and when the MVP odds go up, you’ll see the names Jokić” and “Dončić listed with much shorter odds than Fournier. PointsBet even denied a request for a Fournier wager last Thursday, showing that their “Name a Bet” function isn’t always as functional as advertised.

Few people in the US sports gambling world quite understand the mindset of European basketball players when it comes to Eurobasket, which is being played for the first time in five years.

So, consider yourself prepared to pounce, and if Fournier is the Knick you consider most likely to go off in Berlin, jump on that bet after a preliminary round loss.

The book on France used to be that they always stumble in big moments. But the 2021 Olympics changed some minds.

Fournier’s odds will be much longer than those of Jokić, Dončić, and Greece’s Giannis Antetokounmpo. But the MVP will likely go to a player from the winning team. Given France’s 5-0 start in Tokyo last summer and their NBA-style of play, it is not the worst wager in the history of wagers — especially for a Knick (at least for now).

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