Enes Kanter Agrees to Contract with Trail Blazers After Knicks Buyout

New York Knicks center Enes Kanter warms up before the start of an NBA basketball game against the Boston Celtics, Friday, Feb. 1, 2019, at Madison Square Garden in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

Mary Altaffer/Associated Press

The Portland Trail Blazers added playoff-tested depth to their frontcourt for the stretch run when they signed Enes Kanter on Wednesday. 

This comes after the New York Knicks announced they waived him when they were unable to trade him by the Feb. 7 deadline.

Per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Kanter was also pursued by the Los Angeles Lakers, and he’ll see plenty of playing time with the Blazers. Portland previously filed an offer sheet of $70 million for Kanter when he was a restricted free agent in 2015, but the Thunder matched the offer. 

It marked the end of a season of frustration for the big man in the Big Apple. According to a report from Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News in January, Kanter didn’t buy into the Knicks’ rebuilding plan when it meant less playing time for him.

When Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic reported later in January that Kanter was told he was going to start during a game against the Houston Rockets and instead didn’t play at all, he said, “What they’re doing to me is pretty messed up. I deserve better.”

Kanter again expressed his displeasure in February when the Knicks elected to play 30-year-old DeAndre Jordan after acquiring him via trade.

“I’m giving up my minutes just because the young guys can get better,” Kanter said, per Vorkunov. “I’m 26. I think the guys that came are older than me right? So I don’t know what that means. I don’t know, man. I think it’s disrespectful.”

Things even reached a point where he kissed the logo at Madison Square Garden when he did enter a game.

Despite the issues, he thanked the organization and the fans in a lengthy message after he was waived:

He now gets to turn his attention elsewhere and continue serving as a double-double threat every time he takes the floor for a new team. Before being waived, he averaged 14.0 points and 10.5 rebounds a night for the Knicks this season after posting 14.1 points and 11.0 rebounds per game in 2017-18.

Kanter battles on the boards, scores on the blocks and can work in pick-and-rolls with his soft touch around the rim.

There are defensive concerns with opponents shooting 3.3 percent better from the field than their normal averages when he guards them this season, per NBA.com. What’s more, the Knicks’ defensive rating improved from 113.4 when he was on the court to 109.5 when he was off it before it waived him, per NBA.com.

Even with the defensive worries, Portland landed a big man who can impact games on the offensive end and on the glass. He is also playoff-tested with 27 postseason games on his resume from his tenures with the Utah Jazz and Oklahoma City Thunder and will look to add to that total in a new uniform.

NBA News

via Bleacher Report – NBA http://bit.ly/2gMI6gF

February 13, 2019 at 02:14PM

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