Enes Kanter Reportedly Released by Knicks After 1-Plus Seasons

Enes Kanter Reportedly Released by Knicks After 1-Plus Seasons
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

Enes Kanter‘s time with the New York Knicks has come to an end.

The Knicks announced they are releasing the veteran after they failed to move him prior to the trade deadline. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski first reported the news. 

Wojnarowski reported Wednesday that buyout talks were expected to begin if a trade could not be reached.

New York acquired Kanter in 2017 from the Oklahoma City Thunder in the Carmelo Anthony trade. Although the veteran exercised his $18.6 million player option during the offseason to remain in the Big Apple, Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News reported in early January that Kanter had grown unhappy with the organization’s “development” plan, which has impacted his playing time.

The 26-year-old center made it clear that winning is his top priority, though.

“As long as we’re winning, I’m fine with any role,” Kanter said, per Bondy. “If we’re not winning, it’s a problem.”

The Knicks are a league-worst 10-43 amid a five-year playoff drought. Meanwhile, Kanter started just 23 times in 44 appearances. He averaged 14.0 points and 10.5 rebounds with the Knicks this season.

A reduced role caused his frustration to reach a tipping point in late January, per The Athletic’s Mike Vorkunov:

He wound up speaking out about his lack of playing time on a number of occasions. As he saw action just three times in the final 12 games prior to the trade deadline, it reached a point where the veteran commemorated his playing time by kissing the midcourt logo at Madison Square Garden:

The saga didn’t end there, though. On Friday, Kanter made it clear, per Vorkunov, that he found his role (or lack thereof) with the team to be “disrespectful.”

His release is the latest move for the rebuilding Knicks, who traded Kristaps Porzingis, Courtney Lee, Tim Hardaway Jr. and Trey Burke in late January in an apparent effort to clear up cap space for the summer.

Kanter will now have the opportunity to explore his market and try to finish out the season with a bigger role than the one he possessed in New York.

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