Kanter: Knicks’ Ownership A Deterrent For Free Agents

Appearing on The Full 48, Howard Beck’s podcast, new Celtics center Enes Kanter offered a theory for why the Knicks haven’t had much success in the free agent market in recent years despite a big market and plenty of cap room. According to Kanter, an ownership group led by James Dolan is considered a deterrent by players around the NBA.

Dolan hasn’t had an active role in basketball decisions in recent years, but he has still repeatedly made headlines based on run-ins with fans and vendettas against media outlets, among other issues.

“I’m not blaming anybody. I had an amazing time with the Knicks,” Kanter said, according to Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News. “But other teammates I talked to or if they’re on different teams, they always said, ‘Amazing city, MSG is amazing. Everything is so good. But the ownership.’ They always keep saying, ‘But the ownership.’

“… I can tell. I don’t get into it too much. The players, when we get in the locker room, we talk about what’s going on. And the players always see how the management or how ownership treat other players, treat other players around.”

The Knicks spent most of the 2018/19 season gearing up for free agency, trading rising star Kristaps Porzingis to Dallas in a pre-deadline deal to create enough cap room to sign two maximum-salary players in July. However, the club struck out on its top targets and ultimately used that room to sign veterans like Julius Randle, Bobby Portis, Taj Gibson, Elfrid Payton, and Wayne Ellington.

Other than Randle, no free agent signed by the Knicks this offseason has more than one fully guaranteed year on his new contract, so the team will have the flexibility to be active again in free agency in 2020 and/or 2021. Still, based on his comments to Beck, Kanter didn’t sound confident that the perception of the franchise will shift overnight.

“I always tell (players), the Knicks are amazing. It’s the Garden, it’s the Mecca. If you win in New York, you’re the king of the world,” Kanter said, per Bondy. “Some of the players are I guess scared to come here and don’t even want to deal with that.”

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13 thoughts on “Kanter: Knicks’ Ownership A Deterrent For Free Agents

    • osonvs

      Actually, water is NOT, in itself wet, as it is a liquid, but can make other solids wet. You can even argue that the sky isn’t blue either as the blue you see is blue light being scattered by molecules in the air. But this obviously has nothing to do with basketball…

  1. Reflect

    The Knicks/ownership are finally doing everything right for the first time in like 30 years. Sucks that they haven’t had much luck under the new regime.

    • Rewane

      They should be taking on bad contracts to get picks with their cap space, like the Nets have done and the Hawks and Cavs are currently doing. They still believe stars would come just because it’s NY and they have cap space. The upcoming summers they are going to compete with the Hawks and Mavs for stars. Hawks got Young, Collins, and lottery picks they picked this year. Mavs got Doncic and Porzingis. Will stars choose Randle, Knox, and Barret over the other groups? Knicks don’t nearly have enough young talent on long term contracts for stars to chose them over other teams with cap space.

  2. If you win in NYC, you are the King of the world…
    Some are scared…
    Women have secrets, most of NBA players are gutless

    • Jason Lancaster

      I think anonymous commenters are gutless. I think NBA players are pretty tough.

      • x%sure

        In the old days of writing letters to the editor, they wanted your real name and street address too!

  3. southbeachbully

    Is it me or does it seem that this narrative of the Knicks ownership seem sort of overblown. Aside from the Oakley situation and issues with the media, what has he done that’s harmful to the players? He’s made some bad management highers (IT and Jackson) but it’s not like he’s thought of as owner that micromanages the front office, is cheap to spend on the roster or provides less than 1st class treatment to players in terms of facilities, travel, etc.

    I’m not in NY to monitor the papers so am I missing anything relevant that should make ownership an issue? It seems the coaching staff and front-office are capable professionals. Is simply not winning the reason?

    • Jason Lancaster

      The Melo trade and the way he chased Walsh out of town. The ridiculous way he handles the media. The way the Knicks don’t invest in scouting. Hiring Isiah, then refusing to fire him when it was clear he needed to be fired. Then flirting with bringing Isiah back! Lots of deals that were too big and too long, all with different GMs… can’t be a coincidence. Etc.

  4. phenomenalajs

    It was pretty funny seeing Enes Kanter on Monday Night RAW last night going full heel in front of the MSG crowd by attacking R-Truth to grab the 24-7 title for a moment then opening his jacket to reveal his Boston Celtics uniform only for R-Truth to roll him up and get the title back. If he had joined Turkey, they might have completed the upset of Team USA; then again he would’ve been arrested and have to live in a Turkish prison. Erdogan believes he has involvement in that attempted coup a couple years ago.

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