New York Knicks center Enes Kanter remains undecided whether he will opt into the final year of his contract or enter the free agency market this summer. Kanter has been impressive in his first season with the Knicks, averaging 14.1 points and 11.0 rebounds on 59.2 percent shooting from the field. After Kyle O’Quinn declined his player option, the Knicks will be needing more of Kanter next season.
In a recent interview with Marc Berman of the New York Post, Enes Kanter admitted that the arrival of David Fizdale gives him more reason to stay with the Knicks. The 26-year-old center met with Fizdale in May, and the new Knicks head coach told Kanter to start getting in shape and work on his three-point shooting.
“With Coach Fizdale, I want to stay more,” Kanter said. “I know his mentality, I know how much freedom he gives to his players. It’s going to help my decision for sure. I think he’s going to change a lot of things. He seems like a relationship with him is like a friendship relationship. It’s not a player-coach relationship. I talked to him for two hours and it gives you so much confidence.”
Most people believe it will be best for Enes Kanter to exercise his $18.6 million player option since there are only few NBA teams who are expected to have salary cap space to give him a decent offer this summer. However, his new agent, Mark Bartelstein, reportedly told him that there are five NBA teams who are interested in signing him when he becomes an unrestricted free agent in July.
The potential departure of Kanter will put the Knicks in a huge dilemma. With Kristaps Porzingis’ return remains unknown, the Knicks could enter the 2018-19 NBA season without a legitimate center. According to Maxwell Ogden of Daily Knicks, the Knicks may consider signing Los Angeles Lakers center Brook Lopez if Kanter opts out.
Lopez, who is set to become an unrestricted free agent in July, is undeniably a better center than Kanter. Aside from being an incredible low-post scorer and rebounder, Lopez can shoot the ball from beyond the arc and protect the rim. The 30-year-old center has shown a huge drop in his numbers last season mainly because of his lack of playing time with the Lakers. However, playing under Fizdale could help him regain his rhythm, and he could end up becoming one of the Knicks’ main option on the offensive end next season.