The Thunder traded Reggie Jackson at the deadline, as part of a three-team deal with the Pistons and the Jazz that sent Enes Kanter back to OKC.
We knew Jackson was disgruntled.
But after the Thunder’s shootaround Saturday in Utah, we now know that Kanter was similarly displeased with his previous situation.
From Aaron Falk of The Salt Lake Tribune:
“I think it wasn’t just a one- or two-game frustration; it was a three-and-a-half-year frustration,” Kanter said.
Asked what those frustrations were, Kanter responded: “I would say almost everything.”
Kanter admitted that he “didn’t bring it every night” on the basketball court while with the Jazz and said he has enjoyed a revitalization since joining the Thunder.
“I think the difference is probably I like playing basketball there,” Kanter said. “That’s the most important thing. Never liked playing basketball before in my NBA career. That’s my first time I start like playing basketball there, for my team, for the fans, for my teammates, for coaches, everybody. That’s the first time.”
There’s a lot to digest with what he said, and without specifics, it’s difficult to begin to take sides.
Kanter is being honest that he’s far happier with the Thunder, but it’s unclear as to exactly the reasons why. OKC has a track record of recent success, while the Jazz struggled in every season Kanter was there.
His per-game averages since coming to OKC are career-bests: 17.6 points and 10.8 rebounds, to go along with 56.7 percent shooting in 16 total appearances. But the lineup data shows the team is better with Kanter off the court than it is while he’s on.
We want athletes to give candid answers when asked questions like these, so I don’t have a problem with anything Kanter said. Jazz fans obviously see things differently, however, so it wasn’t a surprise when he was booed Saturday night in Utah the moment he took the floor.