After he was released by the New York Knicks, Enes Kanter was given an opportunity to play for a legitimate title contender when he signed by the Portland Trail Blazers. With Jusuf Nurkic out in the final games of the 2018-19 NBA season due to injury, Kanter played a significant role in Portland, especially in the postseason where he started 14 out of 16 games and averaged 11.4 points and 9.6 rebounds on 51.4 percent shooting from the field.
After helping the Trail Blazers reach the Western Conference Finals, most people expected Enes Kanter to return to Portland for another season. However, when he became an unrestricted free agent, Kanter decided to leave the Trail Blazers to sign with the Boston Celtics. In an interview with Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype, Kanter revealed why he chose the Celtics as his next landing spot.
“The reason I went [to Boston] is for a championship,” Kanter said.
“I feel like the team is really young and willing to learn and we have an amazing group of guys. I feel like we can beat any team on any floor. All we have to do is just be good friends and stay together. Let’s just go have fun! It’s definitely going to be a very, very exciting season.”
— NESN (@NESN) July 30, 2019
When the 2018-19 NBA season officially came to an end, Enes Kanter admitted that he originally considered re-signing with the Trail Blazers. However, when they engaged in contract negotiation in the 2019 NBA free agency, Marc J. Spears of ESPN’s The Undefeated revealed in a Twitter post that the Trail Blazers only gave Kanter six minutes to decide which made the Turkish big man think twice about returning to Portland.
“Ok, I was considering signing with Blazers but they gave me only 6 min to make a decision,” Kanter told Spears via text. “I felt pressure. And didn’t feel comfortable.”
Choosing the Celtics over the Trail Blazers is undeniably a good decision for Enes Kanter. Unlike in Portland where he’s only a temporary starter while Jusuf Nurkic is recovering from an injury, Kanter is set to have a more significant role with the Celtics, especially knowing that they lost Al Horford in the 2019 NBA free agency. With Horford gone, Celtics Head Coach Brad Stevens is expected to use Kanter alongside Jayson Tatum, Gordon Hayward, Jaylen Brown, and Kemba Walker in their starting lineup next season.
The Celtics may not be the top favorite to win the NBA championship title in the 2019-20 NBA season, but they aren’t a team that can be underestimated in the Eastern Conference. If the core of Enes Kanter, Jayson Tatum, Gordon Hayward, Jaylen Brown, and Kemba Walker work together and build good chemistry, the Celtics would be a huge headache to any powerhouse teams in the league.