Before this season tipped off, Enes Kanter was sent from the Oklahoma City Thunder to the NewYork Knicks in part of the Carmelo Anthony trade.
So far, Kanter has essentially been the same player he was last season in OKC, but with an expanded role.
In 25.0 minutes per game, the offensive-minded 25-year-old center has averaged 13.4 points and 9.9 rebounds for the 18-21 club.
However, there’s a real chance that this could be his only season in the Big Apple. He has an $18.4 million player option for next season. If he accepts it, he will remain a member of the club through the end of next season, but if he declines it, he could very well end up with whoever offers him the most money or the best opportunity on the open market this summer.
Judging by his recent comments, it seems like he may never want to leave New York, though.
According to Al Iannazzone of Newsday.com, Kanter already said he wants to finish his career as a Knick.
“Is it bad?” Kanter asked Iannazzone, smiling. It’s worth mentioning that he’s just 25 years old.
“You realize after you play for the Knicks, you don’t want to play for nobody else,” Kanter said. “Everything you need is here, the staff, the crowd, the team, the organization, you don’t want to play for nobody else. This is the place.”
Kanter has quickly become a fan favorite in New York and has meshed well as an interior presence alongside Kristaps Porzingis. As a scrappy, hard-nosed player, his physicality is an asset for him, especially in the low post on the offensive end of the court, where he has shown an ability to find the bottom of the net.
The Turkish big man’s love for his new city was on display right when he found out he got traded.
"When I heard about the news first I was doing a basketball camp for orphans in Oklahoma City," Kanter told reporters at the Knicks Media Day in October. "And my friend brought me my phone and he said, 'Hey, this is urgent. And I said, 'I'm doing a camp.' And he said, 'It's urgent.”
"He said don't look too happy because he knows I love New York," said Kanter. ”And after I went home and packed my stuff, I woke up in the middle of the night and punched myself. I said is this is dream? Is this really happening?”
In other words, he had to pinch himself.
Although there’s a very small chance that Kanter stays in New York for the rest of his career based on the current landscape of the NBA and all of the moving financial parts that each organization deals with, but it’s refreshing to hear that he is happy in his current situation.
Since the Knicks’ center depth is very crowded with Kanter, Porzingis, Kyle O’Quinn, Joakim Noah and Willy Hernangomez all involved, there’s a chance that the club decides to offload one or more of them before the February 8 trade deadline.
Based on the fact that Kanter could potentially be owed a lot of money next season, he might find himself on the move again, despite his kind words about playing in New York.