Toward the end of 2018, Enes Kanter expressed disappointment in being relegated to a bench role, saying that he didn’t understand why he was being “shut down” by the New York Knicks so early on in the season, according to ESPN. But with Kanter still playing meaningful minutes and producing solid numbers (14.4 points, 10.7 rebounds per game) for the Knicks, a new report suggests that other teams are beginning to show interest in the 26-year-old center ahead of the February trade deadline.
Citing a subscriber-only report from the Athletic, Daily Knicks wrote that the Knicks have “listened” to inquiries regarding Kanter’s availability, despite how he recently denied ever requesting to be traded. No specific teams or potential trade pieces were cited, but Daily Knicks stressed that New York doesn’t appear to be close to sending Kanter to another team.
Given how Kanter is earning $18.6 million this season and on the final year of his contract, New York reportedly did not consider buying him out to make it easier to move him to another team. But with few teams being able to match the Turkish big man’s salary, Daily Knicks suggested that New York could trade him to the Chicago Bulls in exchange for forward Jabari Parker, who is making $20 million this season. Per the Chicago Tribune, Parker has seen his role drastically reduced since Jim Boylen took over as the Bulls’ head coach last month.
The idea of a Kanter-for-Parker trade was first brought up earlier in the week by Daily Knicks, but as recapped by the Inquisitr, the hypothetical swap also included Knicks point guard Trey Burke getting sent to Chicago.
Additionally, Daily Knicks recommended that the Sacramento Kings could take advantage of their $11 million in salary cap space and get rid of backup center Kosta Koufos’ expiring $8.7 million contract by acquiring Kanter for Koufos and a future draft pick.
There’s probably only one logical solution — the Knicks center’s departure from the roster in either a trade or buyout https://t.co/ljXTyfxXra
— New York Post Sports (@nypostsports) December 31, 2018
“Options exist for Kanter if they do not all seem apparent. It’s still a task to match his salary, but on an expiring contract, he’s not a long-term commitment for someone with cap space to assume,” Daily Knicks‘ Rob Wolkenbrod added.
As suggested by Daily Knicks, trading Enes Kanter would allow young centers Mitchell Robinson and Luke Kornet to split time at center and complement each other’s playing styles, with the former specializing in defense and the latter being more of an outside-shooting big man. Robinson, who has been out since mid-December due to injuries, is averaging 4.7 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks per game, while Kornet, who replaced Kanter in the starting lineup, is contributing 6.2 points and 2.5 rebounds per game and shooting 46.4 percent from beyond the three-point line.