Evan Fournier said it’d be “awesome” to sign a contract extension with the Magic before the Nov. 2 deadline.
But he and Orlando didn’t reach a deal.
How much security did Fournier sacrifice?
Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:
Fournier rejected a four-year, $32 million offer from the Magic, league sources told Yahoo, deciding to test restricted free agency in July. Ultimately, the NBA’s projected salary cap increase in 2016 and his upside produced an easy decision for Fournier.
“To be honest, I did not even expect to be extended,” Fournier told Yahoo. “I had no pressure about that. If there was something good, I will take it. If not, I can wait until the summer. I don’t have to worry about it and make the wrong decision. I have confidence in myself and the season that I’ll have. The contract will take care of itself.
“You can’t go on the court and think about a deal. You must be focused and you must have the right mindset.”
Fournier should make much more than that in free agency this summer.
He’s leading the Magic with 19.2 points per game, shooting 45.4% from the field and 37.6% from beyond the arc. At just 23, he has plenty of room to get better. His driving ability lends itself to better distributing and foul-drawing, though Fournier has not yet capitalized.
But Orlando was fine to lowball Fournier in extension negotiations for a couple reasons:
1. Fournier will be a restricted free agent, so he can’t unilaterally leave next summer. If the Magic want to pay him, they can do so in the offseason. There was no rush to do so before Fournier showed better production.
2. Victor Oladipo and Mario Hezonja give Orlando quality wing depth beyond Fournier. Again, that makes locking into Fournier less important.
If a team makes a big offer sheet sheet, perhaps the Magic let Fournier leave and commit to Oladipo and Hezonja. Or Orlando values his mix of production and potential and wants to hedge its bets on wings and keep him.
Either way, Fournier is playing himself into a much bigger contract than his extension would have paid.