When he decided to opt into the final year of his contract, Enes Kanter expected to have a significant role with the New York Knicks in the 2018-19 NBA season. Unfortunately, after a few games of serving as the Knicks’ starting center, Kanter found himself being demoted to the bench as Coach David Fizdale decided to prioritize the development of their young players.
The Knicks tried to move Enes Kanter before the February NBA trade deadline but failed to find a trade partner who’s willing to absorb his contract. On Thursday, ESPN reported that the Knicks decided to waive Kanter, together with veteran shooting guard Wesley Matthews. Now that he’s an unrestricted free agent, the 26-year-old center can pick his preferred destination.
In a Twitter post, Enes Kanter thanked the Knicks’ organization and expressed his desire to join an NBA team that will allow him to prove that he can be one of the most dominant big men in the league.
“As grateful as I am [to the Knicks], I am also excited to continue playing basketball and showcasing that I can be one of the most dominant forces in the paint. New York will always have a special place in my heart and I look forward to returning here and playing in front of these amazing fans again.”
Enes Kanter may be the odd man out in New York, but he could still be a great addition to a team who needs a boost in their bench scoring. Despite receiving limited playing time, Kanter still posted impressive numbers for the Knicks this season. In the 44 games he played, the Turkish big man averaged 14 points and 10.5 rebounds on 53.6 percent shooting from the field.
Report: Celtics interested in Enes Kanter if he is bought out https://t.co/v8koy8UCLW— The Celtics Wire (@TheCelticsWire) February 7, 2019
According to ESPN, league executives expect the Boston Celtics to be one of the NBA teams who could express interest in adding Enes Kanter to their roster. It’s definitely not a surprise that the Celtics are seeking for upgrades, especially now that the competition in the Eastern Conference get tougher. Most of the Eastern Conference contenders have made big moves before the February NBA trade deadline.
The Toronto Raptors acquired Marc Gasol. The Philadelphia 76ers traded for Tobias Harris. The Milwaukee Bucks added Nikola Mirotic. However, it remains unknown how interested the Celtics are in signing Enes Kanter. The Celtics may have lost big man Aron Baynes to a foot injury, but Daniel Theis has turned himself into a reliable backup for Al Horford in the previous games. Unlike Kanter, Theis is not a defensive liability and can knock down shots from beyond the arc.