A disgruntled Enes Kanter sounded off on Wednesday night after getting no playing time in the New York Knicks’ loss to the Houston Rockets at Madison Square Garden.
“I want to play basketball,” Kanter said, after receiving a Did Not Play-Coach’s Decision (DNP-CD) on Wednesday. “If you’re going to play me here, play me. Or if not, then just get me out of here.”
With starting center Luke Kornet sidelined with an ankle injury, Kanter was expected to see substantial playing time against Houston. In fact, head coach David Fizdale told Kanter on Wednesday morning that the big man would start. Later in the day, however, assistant coach Keith Smart relayed the news that Kanter was likely headed for a DNP-CD.
The decision to start Noah Vonleh was “frustrating” for Kanter. Fizdale said he started Vonleh in an attempt to slow down Rockets superstar guard James Harden in pick-and-roll situations. That obviously did not work, as Harden erupted for a career-high 61 points in Houston's 114-110 victory.
Kanter was informed by Fizdale last week that the Knicks planned to play young centers Kornet and Mitchell Robinson more moving forward. Still, Kanter was irritated by the fact that he was told he would start versus Houston, only to ride the pine for the entire contest.
My job right now is just cheer for my teammates and try to be a good teammate, [but] what they're doing to me is pretty messed up. I deserve way better.
The 26-year-old Kanter is clearly not a part of the long-term plans for the rebuilding Knicks. Locked in a youth movement, the Knicks see no reason to play the seven-year veteran, an awful defender. He ranks 66th out of 67 centers in ESPN's defensive real plus-minus.
Teams interested in Kanter will be drawn to his scoring and rebounding abilities. He averages 14.4 points and 10.8 rebounds per contest.
Kanter wants out of New York, changing his tune from last month when he met with Knicks general manager Scott Perry and expressed his frustration with being removed from the starting unit—but indicated his desire to remain with the franchise.
A free agent at the end of the season, Kanter would like to be moved before the NBA’s trade deadline on Feb. 7.