Wednesday 24th April 2024,
The Hoop Doctors

Enes Kanter Again Hints That He’ll Opt Out of Contract with New York Knicks

Kanter

Enes Kanter sure seems like he’s prepping for free agency.

The soon-to-be 26-year-old big man said at the end of the regular season he was leaning toward declining his player option next year and exploring the open market. If you’re an NBA betting man you’d likely not think it possible. The notion seemed almost blasphemous. He’s owed $18.6 million next year. There’s no way he matches that annual salary in his next deal, be it with the New York Knicks or another. Not in today’s NBA.

Still, Kanter is sticking by his initial inclination—or so it seems. Consider this exchange with the  Norman Transcript‘s Fred Katz:

“I’m gonna be right there [points about 15 rows back]. You know where [Kanter’s manager] Hilmi [Cinar] sits? I thought I’m gonna get seats right there [points courtside]. They gave me sears up there. It’s messed up. It’s OK.”

They can’t put you on the big board.  

“They can’t?”

Tampering.

“What does that mean?”

Because you’re still on the Knicks.

“Am I? Am I?”

Are you going to opt out? You are technically on the Knicks.

“Until July 1, yes. We’ll talk to teams. We’ll see.”

The plot thickens.

If Kanter was going to opt out, it would make sense to assume it was because he maybe knew the Knicks were prepared to offer him a long-term deal. This makes it seem like there’s no such agreement or hope in place—which, again, is weird. Kanter is not the ideal modern big. He is neither a strong defender nor spacer. He can grab offensive rebounds, score in the post and hit baby jumpers out of pick-and-pops, but he doesn’t figure to be one of the most sought-after names on the market.

Then again, Kanter is young enough to roll the dice. Even netting the full mid-level exception over three or four years would guarantee him a larger total sum of money than the $18.6 million he’s slated to make. With the league headed in the direction of small-ball, there might be real value in him signing a new deal that gives him more money, at a smaller annual salary, over the longer term.

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