When he exercised his $18.6 million player option to stay, Enes Kanter is definitely aware of the New York Knicks’ main goal in the 2018-19 NBA season. With Kristaps Porzingis set to miss most of the regular season games due to injury, the Knicks are expected to focus on the development of their young players such as Frank Ntilikina, Kevin Knox, Mitchell Robinson, Allonzo Trier, and Luke Kornet.
Most of the Knicks’ players seemed to understand their current situation, except Enes Kanter who has been consistently complaining about his reduced role with the team. The 26-year-old center made it clear that he’s not demanding a trade from New York, but the Knicks may really consider moving him if he becomes a major distraction to the team. According to Fansided’s Daily Knicks, one of the potential trade destinations for Kanter is the Chicago Bulls.
In a proposed trade deal, the Knicks will be sending Enes Kanter and Trey Burke to the Bulls for Jabari Parker. The deal works on ESPN‘s NBA Trade Machine.
“For the New York Knicks to make this trade, it provides a positive ending for everyone involved, even Kanter, despite joining one of the NBA’s worst teams by record. The Knicks remove an unhappy player from their roster, who they longer have to worry about playing enough or what will happen if he does not start ahead of Kornet or Robinson. It removes that issue and the public distraction. Kornet and Robinson can also split time at center, rather than the potential situation of three players trying to split time once everyone returns to full health.”
— Marc Berman (@NYPost_Berman) January 2, 2019
By trading Enes Kanter, Knicks Head Coach David Fizdale can now focus on splitting the playing time at the center position between Mitchell Robinson and Luke Kornet. Jabari Parker is only 23 and could still be part of the Knicks’ long-term plan. The Knicks could use the second half of the 2018-19 NBA season to evaluate whether Parker is a good fit on their roster or not.
If he’s not, the Knicks could easily dump him since the second year of his contract is a team option. When the free agency hits next July, the Knicks are expected to use their salary cap space to sign a max free agent. Some of their potential targets include Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Jimmy Butler, Kemba Walker, and Kawhi Leonard
Meanwhile, with the logjam in their frontcourt, it is highly likely that Enes Kanter and the Bulls will negotiate a buyout as soon as the trade happens, provided that the veteran center agrees to take less money. This will allow Kanter to join a playoff-bound team that can give him significant playing time.