Enes Kanter‘s frustration with his diminished role in the Knicks‘ rotation reached a boiling point on Wednesday night after he received his first DNP-CD of the season in the team’s loss to Houston. As Marc Berman of The New York Post relays, Kanter said that what the Knicks are doing to him is “pretty messed up.”
“They told me this morning that I’m starting,” Kanter said of the Knicks’ coaching staff. “Now I come to the game and I didn’t even play. I’m trying to be a good teammate, but I want to play basketball. If you’re going to play me here, play me. If not, just get me out of here.”
With his minutes fluctuating over the last month or so as the Knicks focus more on developing their young players, Kanter has already expressed annoyance about his role multiple times. However, he took it to a new level on Wednesday by calling on the club to “get me out of here” if it doesn’t plan to play him.
With Luke Kornet sidelined due to an ankle injury, Kanter appeared set to return to the starting lineup and play regular minutes going forward. However, New York instead opted to start Noah Vonleh at center, with Mitchell Robinson backing him up. The duo handled all the center minutes during Wednesday’s tough four-point loss to the Rockets, leaving Kanter to vent to reporters after the game.
“It’s so frustrating,” Kanter said, per Berman. “In the meeting, [head coach David Fizdale] said I was starting. Now it’s coming here and coming to the game ready to go and I sit on the bench. … I deserve way better. They didn’t explain me anything. I’m just going to let my agent handle it. I love the Knicks, don’t get me wrong. I love the crowd and MSG and have love for this city, but I want to play basketball. Either play me or just let me play someplace.”
Although Kanter is on an expiring contract, he’s earning $18.6MM+ this season, which will make him difficult to move, since the Knicks don’t want to take on any extra 2019/20 money. The Knicks and Bulls have reportedly discussed a deal involving Kanter and Jabari Parker, who has a $20MM expiring contract of his own, but they’ve been unable to find a third team willing to take Kanter.
The Mavericks were among the teams that turned down the chance to be the third team in such a deal, tweets Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News. Presumably, Wesley Matthews‘ expiring salary – which is identical to Kanter’s – would have been included in that proposal.