Knicks Notes: Kanter, Ntilikina, Knox

Enes Kanter has been promised a place in the Knicks‘ rotation, Marc Berman of the New York Post relays. Coach David Fizdale assured Kanter he’ll be in games and suggested the team will use two-center alignments in the future.

“I want to pull off combinations like that because I want to give them all a taste out there,” Fizdale said of playing two centers at the same time.

Fizdale replaced the Turkish big man with Luke Kornet after the team’s Christmas day loss to the Bucks. Mitchell Robinson has been out with an ankle injury that predated the lineup change, leaving Kanter to see minutes off the bench over the last four contests. Robinson isn’t quite ready to see the court, though the rookie won’t take all of Kanter’s minutes once he returns.

Kanter won’t play in the team’s January 17 tilt against the Wizards in London. Kanter, who has been outspoken about the Turkish Government, said he wouldn’t travel with the team because of safety concerns. “I could get killed pretty easy,” he previously said, alluding to his feud with Turkish dictator Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the possibility of a Turkish presence in London.

The Knicks then attempted to clarify the center’s response by announcing that Kanter would not make the trip because of visa issues. However, Kanter refuted the claim today, posting a photo of his travel document on his Twitter feed.

New York could trade Kanter, in addition to some of their other veterans, before the trade deadline, as the franchise is fully committed to a youth movement.  As we wait to see what moves the 10-29 Knicks make, let’s take a look at some more notes from the Big Apple:

  • The Knicks‘ team doctors have changed their diagnosis on Frank Ntilikina‘s ankle from a strained left tendon to sprained ligaments, which is an upgrade in terms of predicted recovery time, Berman passes along in the same piece. The team doesn’t expect Ntilikina to miss as much time as Robinson has. “With the Mitchell thing, we’re being overly cautious because he’s had multiple [sprains],” Fizdale said. “It’s different with Frank, and these kids heal differently. I don’t see Frank being out too long.”
  • Kevin Knox is only 19 years old and the 6’9″ rookie says he isn’t done growing yet, Berman passes along in a separate piece. “Doctors said I have a half-inch or an inch left in the tank,” Knox said. “You never know — hopefully, I have an inch [left]. Maybe 6-10, 6-10½. If not, I’m perfectly fine with where I’m at.”
  • While tanking may be the best path for the Knicks, Tim Hardaway Jr. is not a fan of the strategy and the losses are wearing him down, Berman adds in a separate piece. “It’s obviously a tough pill to swallow. You definitely want to try to win as many games as possible.”

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