The Boston Celtics have fallen in the Eastern Conference standings over the last month and sit in eighth place entering Friday night's road game against the Milwaukee Bucks.
Reinforcements were needed to ensure another playoff run, and C's president of basketball operations Danny Ainge addressed a couple roster weaknesses before Thursday's NBA trade deadline by acquiring Evan Fournier from the Orlando Magic.
The veteran guard is scoring a career-high 19.7 points per game and shooting 38.8 percent from 3-point range. The price to acquire Fournier also wasn't very high -- two second-round draft picks and guard Jeff Teague.
"With Evan, in particular, I thought this opportunity was unique, to add a player of his caliber," Ainge told reporters Friday morning. "We've talked often about shooting with size. Here's a 6-foot-7 kid who's a good shooter and a good playmaker. He can handle the ball, just another creator for us. Very consistent player, and we're excited to add him."
The Fournier trade wasn't just about improving the on-court product, the move also should inject some life into a team that's endured a lot of unique and difficult challenges during this crazy season impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
"I want our players to feel hope. I want our coach to feel hope. I sensed some discouragement internally with our guys," Ainge admitted. "That was one reason we did something now opposed to waiting some time down the road."
The Celtics used a good portion of their traded player exception (TPE) created from the Gordon Hayward sign-and-trade last offseason to take in Fournier, and there's about $11 million leftover in the TPE to use in the future.
"I think it's a good use of our TPE. ... We don't acquire Evan with the idea that he'll be with us just for this year,' Ainge said. "We acquire him the with idea he could be here potentially for a long time, like all the players we acquire."
Fournier is in the final year of his contract and eligible to become an unrestricted free agent in the offseason. He has all the incentive imaginable to be awesome for the Celtics the remainder of the season with the hopes of landing another large contract.