The New York Knicks absorbed a major blow when they lost franchise superstar Kristaps Porzingis to an ACL tear. The recent setback created speculation that New York will have a hard time luring free agents in the future, but Enes Kanter is not giving up on the Knicks.
Kanter is playing in his first season with the Knicks after getting traded in the deal that sent Carmelo Anthony to the Oklahoma City Thunder. The 25-year-old could become a free agent after this season, and there is a growing expectation that he will look to sign with a contender.
However, Ian Begley of ESPN New York reported that Kanter wants to stay with the Knicks. The former Kentucky standout said that he is not afraid to become a part of the rebuilding process in New York. He insisted that the “organization is good” despite all the negative perceptions about the franchise in the past.
“I like this place man,” Kanter said of New York. “It’s weird because people are scared to come to New York because they think it is like, ‘Oh, New York is scary.’ But I think this organization is good.”
Kanter has made an impact in New York, and they will need more from him until Porzingis returns from injury. In 53 starts in as many games this season, the seven-year center averaged 14.2 points and 10.6 rebounds per game.
The Knicks, who are currently in 11th place in the Eastern Conference standings with their 23-34 record, recently added another rebuilding piece to their roster. New York acquired 21-year-old point guard Emmanuel Mudiay in a three-team deal involving the Dallas Mavericks and Denver Nuggets.
Mudiay will be one of their key players moving forward and could form a dynamic backcourt tandem with rookie point guard Frank Ntilikina. Mudiay and Ntilikina combined for 26 points in their first game together during their 121-113 loss to the Indiana Pacers on Sunday.
New York is looking to invest in their young core. According to Marc Berman of the New York Post, the Knicks are planning to hire former point guard Pablo Prigioni as a developmental coach. If the plan pushes through, the 40-year-old Argentine basketball icon will focus on mentoring Mudiay, Ntilikina, and 25-year-old playmaker Trey Burke.
Prigioni, who spent almost three seasons with the Knicks, is coming off a short stint as head coach for Baskonia in the Spanish League. He stepped down after a 2-6 start, and also cited family issues as a reason for leaving the team.