Even before the 2018-19 NBA season officially started, it’s already crystal clear that the New York Knicks have no intention of contending for the NBA championship title. The face of the franchise, Kristaps Porzingis, is yet to rejoin the Knicks as he’s still recovering from a torn ACL he suffered last season. As of now, the Knicks are focused on the development of their young players and continue to lose games to strengthen their chance of acquiring a lottery pick in the 2019 NBA Draft.
Most of the Knicks’ players seemed to understand their current situation and goal, except Enes Kanter who has been continuously complaining about his limited role in New York. The 26-year-old Turkish big man served as the Knicks starting center in the first few games, but as the 2018-19 NBA season goes deeper, Coach David Fizdale decided to give more playing time to their young big men like Mitchell Robinson and Luke Kornet. In the past months, there are speculations that Kanter would demand a trade from the Knicks to join a legitimate playoff contender that could give him decent playing time.
In a recent interview with Marc Berman of the New York Post, Enes Kanter decided to address the issue and said that he isn’t finding his way out of New York. Kanter also made it clear that he has no problem with the Knicks’ organization and just wanted the opportunity to showcase his talent every game.
“I like it here,” Kanter said. “I like the fans here. Lot of good people here. Lot of good teammates. And I’m trying to stay positive, trying to support my teammates. All I can do right now, it’s a test and it’s definitely one of the hardest tests of my career. I’ve just got to stay positive. I do love New York. I’ve got no problem with New York. I’ve got no problem with the team, the organization or the fans. I love the media. [But] I want to play.”
Despite denying the trade rumors, Enes Kanter will undeniably be better off joining a playoff-bound team than staying with the rebuilding Knicks. Kanter will be a reliable contributor in terms of scoring and rebounding. This season, he’s averaging 14.3 points and 10.6 rebounds on 54.3 percent shooting from the field.
Unfortunately, as Berman noted, it is highly unlikely that a playoff team will consider trading for Kanter, knowing that he’s currently earning $18.6 million this season. However, Berman believes several NBA teams who need a frontcourt boost will express interest in acquiring Kanter once the Knicks agree to buy out his contract and enable him to become an unrestricted free agent.