Since the day he was traded to the New York Knicks, Enes Kanter has truly embraced the city and become a real fans’ favourite.
Kanter was acquired in the trade that sent Carmelo Anthony to the Oklahoma City Thunder last summer and it didn’t take the Turk long to settle in the Big Apple and make a positive impression.
He had a solid first year with the Knicks, averaging a double-double of 14.1 points and tying a career-high with 11 rebounds per game.
Feels like home
Despite leaving a playoff team in OKC to join a New York outfit that hasn’t been to the postseason in several years, Kanter knew from the moment he arrived that he wanted a long-term future with the franchise.
After exercising the player option on his contract this summer, the center will be heading into his second campaign with the Knicks and he’s hoping he can stay longer.
“I told [the Knicks] the week I got traded [last September], I said I wanted to stay here long term,” Kanter said, per Marc Berman of The New York Post.
“You always want a longer contract to feel more secure and comfortable. After playing for the Knicks, you don’t want to play for other cities. I hope I stay here longer than just two years.”
The 26-year-old will become an unrestricted free agent next year and his future with the team will be up in the air as they have big plans to lure marquee names in 2019.
The likes of Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Jimmy Butler, Klay Thompson, Kemba Walker and DeMarcus Cousins will all be on the market.
Head coach David Fizdale has already made it clear that they’re targeting one or two of those stars and are hoping the bright lights of Madison Square Garden will attract them.
With that being said, Kanter will not be a top priority for the Knicks and he’s likely to be a backup option if they fail to land a star.
Even though he doesn’t know if he’ll be on the roster next year, the big man is already making an effort to recruit his former Thunder teammate Durant.
“I’ve been hard on him the last two years,” Kanter said on Sirius XM Radio. “As soon as I learned he’s becoming a free agent, he’s my best friend.
“I can’t say enough of the guy. He’s the best scorer to ever play the game. Who wouldn’t want KD to wear a New York uniform?
“We are New York. He’s a free agent. We need to use that. We are the best city in the world. That could draw a lot of attention for free agents. I would love for him to be my teammate again.”
Ironically, if the Knicks do somehow secure KD, they’d find it difficult to re-sign Kanter as they’d be limited on cap space.
Either way, the 2019 offseason will be huge for the future of the franchise.
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