Knicks center Enes Kanter isn’t sure if he will opt in for the final year of his contract, as he told Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News. It was generally assumed that Kanter would not leave $18.4MM on the table but he’s having such a strong season, it’s no longer a given. “It’s always on your mind,” Kanter told Bondy. “But the season is going really well right now. It’s just a contract. I think people worry about it too much and it gets into their head.” If he opts in, the Knicks will head into next summer with virtually no cap space, Bondy notes. If he becomes an unrestricted free agent, the Knicks will try to re-sign him or pursue an athletic wing defender, Bondy adds.
In other developments concerning the Knicks:
- Backup center Willy Hernangomez has not played in 10 of the last 11 games and he anticipates that something will be done about the logjam at the position, as he relayed to Marc Berman of the New York Post. “I want to play,” he said. “I really want to be here. I love New York. KP (Kristaps Porzingis) is here. But I want to play.” League sources informed Berman that Hernangomez still has trade value but the situation could sort itself out in a different way. Berman speculates that the club will ramp up its efforts to deal Kyle O’Quinn if it nosedives in January.
- The team’s matchup against the Spurs on Thursday will have special meaning to rookie point guard Frank Ntilikina, Berman writes in a separate piece. He idolizes longtime San Antonio point guard Tony Parker. “I’m playing against the best French player in history,’’ Ntilikina revealed to the media. “It will be a challenge playing against him. I never met him but talked to him a bit [after the draft] about the transition and defense in the NBA, a little bit about everything.’’
- Bulls swingman Justin Holiday believes the Knicks would have taken him back if he had waited longer in free agency last summer, according to another Bondy story. Holiday’s former agent pushed hard for a substantial offer from the Knicks and even tried to make it a package deal with his brother, Jrue Holiday, a source told Bondy. New York wound up signing Tim Hardaway Jr. “It’s not like I hate the Knicks now,” Justin told Bondy. “I mean, I honestly believe if I waited something would’ve happened. But at the same time you never know.”