DALLAS (AP) — During Tuesday’s epic collapse, Evan Fournier and Cam Reddish — two players the Knicks spent significant assets to acquire in the last 12 years — never expected to leave their familiar spot on the bench.
“We knew,” Fournier admitted. “As a result, I’m not surprised.”
Fournier, who signed a three-year, $54 million contract before last season, has now gone 22 games and six weeks without seeing the court. Reddish’s DNP streak is shorter, but not suppressing, at 12 games and nearly four weeks.
They watched the Knicks blow a nine-point lead to the Mavericks in 33 seconds on Tuesday, with Luka Doncic killing them with a pick-and-roll.
“I have no control over s—t. So I can’t think about it [my DNP status] too much,” Reddish, who was acquired by the Knicks for a first-round pick last season, said. “I’m going to think myself into misery. You know how it is. That is simply human nature. I just try to keep going to the gym. Get some exercise. And then go from there.”
According to the Daily News, the Knicks are negotiating a trade with Reddish’s representatives. Fournier is also available, but he stated on Tuesday that he has not personally discussed a deal with the Knicks.
“Not at all,” Fournier responded. “I’ve been out of the game for six weeks. I’ve been extremely patient. It’s getting a little long now. I’m not sure if there will be an opportunity.”
As Fournier pointed out, there wasn’t much reason to think about changing jobs in the last few weeks. The Knicks had won eight straight games. They were completely healthy.
[Source: Knicks and Cam Reddish’s representatives are negotiating a trade]
But then came Wednesday, with Jalen Brunson out and RJ Barrett playing only one minute before suffering a lacerated finger. Quentin Grimes, Miles McBride, and Julius Randle all played at least 45 minutes. The Knicks (18-17) were bombed by Doncic in the final moments of regulation and overtime, losing their fourth straight, 126-121.
“I was more concerned about how we were matched up against [the Mavericks],” Thibodeau said of his limited rotation. “We try to match up in a specific way. I thought we performed admirably. We didn’t finish the game in the final 30 seconds.”
When asked if this meant Reddish and Fournier would no longer play, Thibodeau replied simply, “No.”
Matt Barnes responded on Twitter to this.
“Coaches lie just like everyone else,” wrote the former player and current media analyst.
Reddish, a free agent at the end of the season, said the Knicks have not communicated with him about what he needs to do to return to the rotation.
“I’ll be completely honest with you — you probably know more about that than I do,” he said. “I’m not sure. None.”
Fournier, who has had a successful NBA career and is in the midst of his prime at 30 years old, is unsure what is best for his body. He’s been trying to follow Thibodeau’s mantra of “stay ready,” but that can be contradictory because off-day training and gameday training are not the same thing.
“What’s actually difficult is staying ready and doing things to prepare just in case you’re going to play. Then you can’t practise as much, lift as much, or get up as many shots as you’d like. “So finding that balance is actually difficult,” Fournier explained. “Right now, for example, I’m just doing a tonne of squats [before Tuesday’s game]. And the truth is that if I had played today, I would have been exhausted. Finding the right amount of work to stay ready is the part that’s actually difficult when you don’t play.”
In any case, Fournier believes he can contribute to an NBA team.
“Obviously, yes. “I’m the same person,” Fournier explained. “What exactly do you want me to say? I’m at a loss for words. It’s awful not to be playing.”