FEBRUARY 16TH, 6:28pm: The Jazz plan to hang on to Kanter, barring an amazing offer, sources tell Tony Jones of The Salt Lake Tribune. Jones adds that Kanter is still valued highly by the franchise and is still very much in its long-term plans.
FEBRUARY 12TH, 7:58am: Kanter and his agents believe he’s an elite player, and while it’s common for a player’s camp to tout his worth, some around the league have concerns about the people surrounding the Jazz center, according to Grantland’s Zach Lowe (Twitter links).
FEBRUARY 11TH, 11:52pm: Disgruntled center Enes Kanter hopes that he is dealt by the Jazz prior to the February 19th NBA trade deadline, Aaron Falk of The Salt Lake Tribune reports. Kanter has been frustrated by his role with the team the past three seasons, though it apparently reached its breaking point during Wednesday night’s 87-82 loss to the Mavericks, notes Falk. The big man exited the game with an eye injury and never returned despite claiming that he was healthy enough to play, The Tribune scribe adds. “It was not my eye at all. I don’t know what it was, but it was not my eye at all. So we’ll see what’s going to happen,” Kanter said after the game. Kanter had previously grown tired of empty promises of playing time during his tenure under former coach Tyrone Corbin and remains frustrated by the inconsistency of his role, Falk notes.
Kanter’s desire for an exodus from Utah is not a new development, Jody Genessy of The Deseret News tweets. The 22-year-old’s agent Max Ergul has been requesting that his client be traded for years, and he has turned up the heat on the Jazz front office recently regarding the matter, Genessy notes. Ergul has denied making such claims in response to Genessy’s report (Twitter link). The market for Kanter could increase prior to the trade deadline, but there is little to no interest in the big man currently around the league, Genessy notes (Twitter links). Tony Jones of The Salt Lake City Tribune disputes that notion, tweeting that Utah has been fielding trade calls regarding Kanter for some time.
Kanter is in the final season of his rookie scale contract, and will become a restricted free agent this summer after he and the team were unable to come to terms on an extension this past October. Ergul had sung a different tune at the time regarding Kanter’s feelings about playing in Utah, saying, “We have mutually agreed with Utah to concentrate on the season and look at our options again in the summer. Enes likes Utah and the organization very much, and now he can concentrate on continuing to grow as a player and helping them win.”
The fourth year big man from Switzerland has started in 47 of his 48 appearances this season, after being on the court for the opening tip for just 39 of his previous 216 contests dating back to the 2011/12 campaign. Kanter has been sharing the pivot duties with second year center Rudy Gobert, who is a far superior defender. Him having to split time with Gobert is likely contributing to Kanter’s frustration, though that is just my speculation. Kanter is logging 27.3 minutes per contest compared with Gobert’s 21.8 per game.
Since being selected with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2011 NBA draft, Kanter’s career averages are 9.4 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 0.5 assists. His career slash line is .502/.318/.746. Kanter’s numbers this season are a career-high 14.0 PPG and 7.8 RPG, and he is shooting a respectable 49.2% from the field.