Enes Kanter, Trey Burke Available in Trade Talks

The New York Knicks are steadfast on their youth movement and willing to part ways with veterans Enes Kanter and Trey Burke, according to Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic.

Vorkunov writes that the Knicks would be open to moving seldom-used veterans Courtney Lee and Lance Thomas, as well.

Teams have reportedly reached out to the rebuilding Knicks (10-29) regarding Kanter’s availability, but trade talks have not progressed far. Kanter, a free agent this summer who makes $18.6 million this season, has been frustrated with his role on the team after being removed from the starting lineup back in December. He had a face-to-face meeting with Knicks GM Scott Perry on New Year’s Eve where he expressed his dissatisfaction with being pulled from the first-unit.

Enes Kanter is unhappy with his role on the Knicks. — by AP Photo
Enes Kanter is unhappy with his role on the Knicks. — by AP Photo

While Kanter is a double-double machine—averaging 14.4 points and 10.7 rebounds per contest—he is one of the worst defenders in basketball. He struggles particularly in pick-and-roll defense. He could be useful as a spark-plug off the bench for a contender, similar to how he was utilized in his playing days for the Oklahoma City Thunder.

As for Burke, he has essentially been removed from the Knicks’ rotation since returning from a knee injury last month. He is also a free agent at season’s end. Burke is a natural scorer, averaging 11.2 points despite playing only 19.2 minutes per contest.

Lee, once a productive starter in the NBA, is a shell of his former self. Unlike Burke and Kanter, Lee is under contract for next season. He will earn $11.7 million in 2019-20.

Thomas, an end-of-the-bench player who has remained in the league because of his defensive ability, has a non-guaranteed contract for next season. While he won’t be in high demand for his skillset, his $6.5 million contract could help facilitate a trade financially.