Enes Kanter is a frustrated man.
As part of the Knicks’ efforts to build for the future this season, second-year center Luke Kornet out of Vanderbilt has been given the starting job over the veteran Kanter. “I don’t understand” was Kanter’s public comment on the move.
Kanter said he spoke to Knicks GM Scott Perry looking for more information, via Marc Berman of the New York Post.
“I even asked Scott, if you were in my situation, what would you do?’’ Kanter said. “He said, ‘the whole league knows you. Right now, we know that you are a very, very good basketball player. Now I want you to go out there and try to have that good character, try to be a good teammate, and try to help all the people.’ I understand we’re not winning a lot right now. But I guess it’s all for the young guys…
“I did not ask for a trade, no. I did not say, ‘Scott, try and trade me.’ No I did not say that,’’ Kanter said. “ Because I like it here a lot. And I probably won’t say to Scott’s face, ‘Scott I want to get traded.’ Because I like it here a lot. But again, in the end, we all are competitors, basketball players. I like it here so much, but again I want to win. I want this team to get to the playoffs one day. This is my blood, man, I’m sorry. If anyone asks anything else, I’m not going to do it. I’m going out there to get a win every time.”
As much as the Knicks might test the trade market for Kanter, there isn’t going to be much demand for a player making $18.6 million who, because of his serious defensive shortcomings, is almost unplayable in the postseason. The Knicks aren’t interested in attaching assets (such as picks) to a salary dump to move Kanter, so things seem stuck.
This is likely Kanter’s reality for the rest of the season (unless there is a buyout in February).
Kanter is a free agent next summer and it will be interesting to see what the market for him is. Offensively there is genuine value, Kanter is strong on the glass, and there’s a shortage of quality big men across the league, yet Kanter isn’t likely to find long-term deals, or ones as lucrative as the one he has now, waiting for him.