Veterans Available For Trades As Knicks Emphasize Youth

The Knicks are fully committing to a youth movement, which means a smaller role in the future for Enes Kanter, Courtney Lee, Trey Burke and Lance Thomas, writes Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic.

Kanter has been the most outspoken about his loss of playing time since being pulled from the starting lineup in December. He met with GM Scott Perry this week to express his frustration over the move, but didn’t ask for to be traded. Sources tell Vorkunov the Knicks have received calls from several teams that are interested in Kanter, but no deal appears imminent. He adds that there has been no discussion of a possible buyout of the remainder of Kanter’s $18.6MM contract.

“I don’t want no free money,” Kanter said. “This organization pays me money to go out there and play as hard as I can and just fight every possession. I don’t want any free money. When I’m out there, I’m going to give my everything. I’m going to give 100 percent every second.”

Kanter, who opted in to the final year of his contract last summer, is among seven Knicks who will definitely be free agents this summer. New York also has a team option on Allonzo Trier, while Thomas and Damyean Dotson have non-guaranteed deals for 2019/20.

The organization is using this season to develop the players it knows will be part of its future, such as rookies Kevin Knox and Mitchell Robinson. That has marginalized some veterans, including Lee, who missed nearly the first two months of the season with a neck injury and has averaged a career-low 14.9 minutes per game since returning. With another year left on his contract at $12.76MM, Lee has been the subject of trade rumors for months.

“I’ve been in the league,” he said. “I’ve seen every situation. I’ve seen how people handle it. You gotta just stay professional, make sure you stay in shape, stay sharp and ready to play. Everything will work out for the better. If you complain and pout and stuff, that’s when all the other stuff doesn’t work out for the better. But stay positive; that’s all I can do.”

It has been a delicate balancing act for first-year coach David Fizdale as he tries to build up his younger players without alienating the veterans. No one has seen his role change more than Burke, who began the year as the starter at point guard, then was moved to a reserve role and has sometimes been out of the rotation. One of the team’s impending free agents, Burke had hardly played since returning from a sprained knee last month, but he got another opportunity when Frank Ntilikina left Friday’s game with an ankle injury.

“I don’t believe anything is permanent in this league,” Burke said. “When you’re young, you don’t really understand that. Things in this league can be very temporary. You go from one game not playing to the next game playing 30 minutes. You gotta be prepared for that change.”

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20 thoughts on “Veterans Available For Trades As Knicks Emphasize Youth

  1. acarneglia

    I wonder if Kanter becomes an option for Charlotte with Zeller out. Maybe CHA’s 1st and Kaminsky and Batum for Kanter and Lee

    • hiflew

      That’s exactly where the problem lies with moving Kanter. His deal is expiring and the Knicks want to clear cap space. He is the type of player the Knicks should WANT to acquire, not trade away. This makes no sense. It would be one thing if the young players were lighting it up, but this is just pure tanking at its worst.

      • Decius

        The story said they are receiving calls but nothing is happening. The Knicks haven’t said they are moving him. No matter what the Knicks do, everybody bashes them. They haven’t even tried to move Kanter and they are getting criticized for doing so. Quit the blind criticism and actually comment on facts.

        • x%sure

          The article pointed to Kanter, Lee, Burke & Thomas. I think your criticism should be directed to The Athletic.

          You read it… Was there any new info?– I am skeptical.

          Even if an insider said that, another NY insider will come along tomorrow to deny it!

    • mcmillankmm

      Robin Lopez and Jabari Parker for Kanter Lee and either their 2019 pick or Dotson…Knicks can then decline Jabari Parker’s option in offseason…not sure if Bulls would be willing to pay Lee’s 2019-2020 salary for either Dotson/2nd rounder

  2. bbcued

    With Draymonds decline do the warriors take a chance on Kanter until Cousins is healthy? Then move Kanter to PF alongside cousins?

      • bbcued

        Possible. Both are FA after the season and the warriors need to do something. No denying the team hasn’t been the same since the KD Draymond incident. Couldn’t hurt chances of resigning KD either. Draymond is a slightly better defender but Kanter has more size which the dubs badly need.

        • Otogar

          Slightly better defender?? Green has made the all NBA defensive team 4 years in a row and won the defensive player of the year in 2017. In the meanwhile, OKC was systematically sitting Kanter during playoffs because he was such a defensive liability. Defensively speaking they are like night and day.

  3. bitterpadresfan

    Kings could use Kanter. I wonder if the Knicks would like a bum like WCS.

  4. Fizdale and the Knicks’ FO need to start making tough decisions, in unison, consistent with their stated twin goals of max cap space this summer, and player development (which I assumed meant development of players who will be on the Knicks going forward – although I’m beginning to wonder). Tanking is fine, but we need progress on the other fronts.

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