There were two things Danny Ainge said he was unlikely to do before Thursday’s NBA trade deadline: Use the Boston Celtics’ Gordon Hayward traded player exception and acquire a player on an expiring contract.
But Ainge hinted Friday morning that’s a sign he sees Fournier — who will be a free agent this offseason — as someone who could be part of Boston’s future.
“Just the opportunity to get a good player that we think could be with us longer than just this year potentially,” the Celtics president of basketball operations responded when asked why he used the TPE on a possible rental. “We feel like he was a good enough player to add.”
Ainge later added: “I can’t talk about negotiations with impending free agents, sorry about that, but we hope to have Evan around just like other players we acquire. We hope to have him around for longer than just the remaining part of this year.”
The flip side is that the Celtics are acquiring Fournier’s bird rights, as well. So, in the event that Fournier does decide to sign elsewhere this offseason, the possibility exists of Boston pulling off a sign-and-trade to create another TPE.