Even before the 2018-19 NBA season officially started, Enes Kanter must be aware of the path the New York Knicks were planning to take. With Kristaps Porzingis set to miss a long period of time recovering from an injury, the Knicks were expected to focus on the development of their young players and to aim to acquire a lottery pick in the 2019 NBA Draft.
However, Enes Kanter doesn’t seem to have accepted the fact that he’s currently playing on a rebuilding team. Kanter was surprised to see himself receiving a lesser role on the team as the season went deeper. Going from being the Knicks’ starting center, the 26-year-old center suddenly found himself out of the team’s rotation.
Before the Knicks faced the Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday night, Coach David Fizdale met with Enes Kanter to discuss his role with the team. Fizdale said that his priority for the rest of the season is to develop his young players, including Luke Kornet and Mitchell Robinson. Fizdale didn’t give Kanter any assurance that he would be receiving significant playing time for the rest of the season.
“I was very disappointed,” Kanter said of his meeting with Fizdale, via Marc Berman of the New York Post. “There was nothing to be happy about. Everybody knows I love it here, man. I just saw one more time tonight when I went out there [to cheers]. It’s like my home. I love it here, but in the end, I want to play basketball. I miss playing basketball, man. And I would let Scott [Perry] and my agent handle that stuff. [Sunday], and they were kind of like, shutting me down. So I’m like, I want to play basketball.”
When he expressed his frustration over his lack playing time earlier in the 2018-19 NBA season, Enes Kanter made it clear that he’s not demanding a trade from the Knicks and that he would love to stay in New York. However, weeks before the February NBA trade deadline, it seems like Kanter has had a change of heart — and is hinting at his desire to be moved to a team that could give him the opportunity to showcase his talent.
According to Ian Begley of ESPN, several NBA teams have talked to the Knicks regarding a potential deal centered on Enes Kanter ahead of the February NBA trade deadline. Last week, the Knicks and the Sacramento Kings have reportedly engaged in trade discussion involving Kanter and Zach Randolph. Unfortunately, the deal didn’t push through, as the Knicks refused to take back salary. If the Knicks won’t find a trade partner, Begley hinted at the possibility that they may consider buying out Kanter’s contract — letting him choose his next destination.