The Celtics and Knicks on Tuesday agreed to a sign-and-trade involving Evan Fournier, with Boston also sending New York two second-round picks in the deal.
According to a league source, the Celtics created a $17.1 million trade exception with the deal. The source said Boston is sending the Knicks the top-55-protected 2022 second-round pick it previously acquired from Charlotte, as well as the worst 2023 pick among the Thunder and Wizards’ second-round choices, or the better of the Heat and Mavericks’ second-round choices, if it is worse than the Oklahoma City and Washington picks. The Celtics will also receive cash from the Knicks.
The Celtics used the trade exception created in last year’s Gordon Hayward deal to acquire Fournier from the Magic last March. He averaged 13 points, 3.3 rebounds and 3.1 assists and shot 46.3 percent from the 3-point line for the Celtics, but his brief Boston tenure was slowed after he contracted COVID-19 and dealt with aftereffects for several weeks.
At the start of free agency, the Knicks agreed to sign Fournier to a four-year, $78 million deal. Former Celtics All-Star Kemba Walker later signed with New York, too.
The Celtics will have one year to use the $17.1 million exception, which allows them to acquire a player making up to $17.1 million without sending matching salary to the other team.
The four-year extension Marcus Smart agreed to on Tuesday ensured that Boston will be operating as an over-the-cap team for the foreseeable future, but the Fournier extension gives president of basketball operations Brad Stevens one more tool to work with as he looks to push this team back into contention in the Eastern Conference.