Knicks Notes: Kanter, Smith Jr., Porzingis, Valuation

If the Knicks can’t trade center Enes Kanter, buyout talks will begin as soon as the 3pm Eastern deadine passes tomorrow, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. Kanter, who has been unhappy with his reduced playing time, exercised his player option last summer and returned to New York on an $18.6MM expiring deal. It’s not clear how much of the remaining amount of that salary the Knicks would want him to give up to become a free agent.

Kanter has been upset with his role for much of the season, but his playing time has nosedived in recent weeks and he has drawn a DNP-CD in six of the team’s last eight games. With newly acquired center DeAndre Jordan moving into the starting lineup, there’s little hope for Kanter to ever rejoin the rotation. He has remained productive when he has been on the court, averaging 14.0 points and 10.5 rebounds in 44 games.

There’s more from New York City:

  • Dennis Smith Jr. is enjoying the freedom he has with the Knicks after a year and a half of playing for the Mavericks, writes Marc Berman of The New York Post. Smith played 40 minutes last night and welcomes the chance to be freed from the micro-management of Rick Carlisle in Dallas. “I definitely feel free playing here. I love it,” Smith said. “I love going out and playing now. (Coach David Fizdale) gives that freedom to everybody on the team. I feel whenever you do that, you get guys playing hard at both ends.” Smith thought he was headed to New York after Orlando bypassed him with the sixth pick in the 2017 draft. However, the Knicks opted for Frank Ntilikina at No. 7, and Smith was taken by Dallas with the eighth pick.
  • Kristaps Porzingis‘ brother, Janis, wanted a role with the organization and was seeking jobs for entourage members, Berman adds in a separate story. Janis Porzingis also staged his brother’s missed exit meeting in 2017 and insisted that the ACL surgery be performed in Madrid.
  • Today’s franchise valuations from Forbes show that the Knicks don’t have to build a winner to turn a profit, points out Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News. Even though the team hasn’t been competitive for years, its value rose by 11%, reaching the $4 billion mark. Owner James Dolan said recently he believes he could get $5 billion if he ever decided to sell the team.
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