Enes Kanter vs. the Knicks is just beginning. With Kant…

More on Enes Kanter Free Agency

It couldn’t be more obvious that Knicks coach David Fizdale has no use for Kanter any longer. Kanter, who opted into his contract, probably deserves a lot better than this anyway, plugging away for a franchise that long ago gave up on winning games. Trading Kanter to a contender will be tough unless there’s another expiring contract the Knicks can inherit worth in the neighborhood of $18 million.
As a 27-year-old free agent hitting a marketplace that’s flush with cash, so much of his next contract hinges on the progress seen in 2019. “You always think about [free agency],” Kanter says. “Even if people said ‘Oh I don’t think about it, I’m focused on the season’ it’s always in the back of your head. It can not let you affect your game, but you always think about ‘Hey, what am I going to do?’ ‘Where am I going to go?’ ‘Am I going to stay,’ ‘Am I going to leave?’”
Ian Begley: Because he’s on a one-year contract for next season, Enes Kanter purchased an insurance policy that will pay him $20 million if he suffers a career-threatening injury, he said in a phone interview.
Mike Vorkunov: Talked to Enes Kanter about his choice to opt-in for 2018-19 with the Knicks. He'll make $18.6 million in the last year of his deal. "I think it was the right choice because also this market is terrible," he said. "Just wait and play. See what can happen next year." More later.
Enes Kanter: #MakeKnicksGreatAgain 😂

Shams Charania: New York Knicks center Enes Kanter plans to exercise his $18.6M player option today to return to the team next season, league sources tell Yahoo Sports. Enes Kanter: God Damn shams 😂 I haven’t made any decisions yet.
Mike Vorkunov: If Enes Kanter opts in at $18.6 million as he's expected to, according to a league source, Knicks will have a non-taxpayer midlevel exception ($8 .6 mil) and the bi-annual exception ($3.4 mil) to spend this summer since they'll be over the cap. Would expect decision around 5pm.

Ian Begley: Enes Kanter is leaning heavily toward opting in to his $18.6 million player option for 2018-19, per ESPN sources. Kanter will continue to survey the market until his Friday deadline but, barring an unforeseen significant change in the market, he will opt-in, per ESPN sources.
As much as Kanter said he wants to remain a Knick, he revealed his new power agent, Mark Bartelstein, has done his due diligence, and about five teams have emerged with interest in Kanter if he becomes a free agent beginning Sunday. “With Coach Fizdale, I want to stay more,’’ Kanter told The Post in a phone interview Monday night. “I know his mentality, I know how much freedom he gives to his players. It’s going to help my decision for sure. I think he’s going to change a lot of things. He seems like a relationship with him is like a friendship relationship. It’s not a player-coach relationship. I talked to him for two hours and it gives you so much confidence.’’
Kanter would leave $18.6 million on the table if he opts out, so those teams courting him better have cap space. Several agents believe it is in Kanter’s best interest to opt in because of the lack of cap-space money around the league this summer. “I’m going to make the decision on the last day,’’ Kanter said. “I want to take time and see what everyone else is doing. I want to stay with the Knicks. They have great fans, team, organization, people. I would love to stay here.
Enes Kanter has an $18.6-million option that he needs to make a decision on by the end of the month. The Knicks are not expected to give him a multiyear deal if he opts out, so odds are Kanter, who loves New York, will pick up his option. The Knicks would be fine with that.
Taylor Rooks: I asked Enes Kanter if he has a timetable on when he will make the decision whether or not to opt out. He says: “the last minute, the last day, the last second” with a smile.
Robinson, 20, might have found a perfect spot with the Knicks, who are committed to building a team with young, athletic players. Knicks backup center Kyle O’Quinn opted out of his contract. Starting center Enes Kanter is expected to opt out as well, although Kanter has expressed a strong desire to remain in New York.
Ian Begley: Enes Kanter hasn’t yet made a decision on his $18.6 million player option. Opposing teams expect him to opt in. But if Kanter opts out, multiple teams - including Milwaukee - have expressed interest internally in discussing a potential contract with the 26-year-old center.
If Kanter opts out of the $18.4 million final year, the Knicks would have cap space to pursue one of the better names of a soft free-agent class, in restricted free agents Jabari Parker or Julius Randle. A source said Kanter will make the decision by the end of next week.
Bobby Marks: Kyle O'Quinn declining his $4.25M contract will only impact the Knicks cap space this offseason if Enes Kanter decides to decline his $18.6M option. If Kanter returns, New York will be right at the cap. New York will have the $8.6M non tax midlevel and $3.4M biannual exception.
Kanter has been coy about his future, hinting one way or another over the last few months. But his real decision-making will come after the draft June 21. After that, he says, teams will have a better idea of where they’ll stand and their interest in and need for him, so he’ll have the information needed to choose what he wants to do. “The only thing I’m doing right now is waiting for the draft,” he told The Athletic. “After the draft we’ll see what’s going to happen. Because the draft a lot of things can change, for the Knicks and for the whole league. Because people are going to leave. Waiting for LeBron to decide and everything. I’m waiting for the draft to happen and then we’ll see.”
Kanter’s preference remains to sign a long-term contract, and he’ll talk to the Knicks first before any other machinations, but he knows this summer could be a frigid one for free agents. Few teams could have enough cap room to give him the money he would pass on if he opted out. “It’s a tough summer,” he said. “It’s a very tough summer. But we’ll see, though. If the smartest thing is to opt in, I’ll opt in. If the smartest thing is to opt out, I’ll opt out. We’ll see. I’ll talk to the Knicks, too, of course.”
Kanter tweeted Thursday a picture of himself with his body twisted and wrote, “my legs telling me opt out my body’s telling me opt in.” Fizdale said he’s preparing as if Kanter will be back. “As of today, he’s ours,” Fizdale said. “That’s how I look at it. He’s a Knick. Until I’m notified otherwise. “He could have been fooling me but he seemed excited and like he’s really looking forward to this fresh start. The guy’s a heck of a player and he fits the toughness part of what we’re talking about.”

Enes Kanter: My legs telling me Opt out My body telling me Opt in 🤷‍♂️🤦‍♂️ #TBT 😂

Ian Begley: Steve Mills on Enes Kanter: “Enes wants to be here in New York,” Mills said on MSG Network. Mills was then asked if the next move is the Knicks’ or Kanter’s. “Really, it’s his,” Mills said. “He has to choose to opt in.” Kanter has a $18.6 million player option for next season.
Ian Begley: Enes Kanter talks to @Royce Young about attending the Thunder game and his potential free agency: "We’ll see what’s going to happen. I definitely want to stay in New York if I can." Kanter has a $18.6 million player option for next year.
Stefan Bondy: Enes Kanter still sounding like he wants to opt out. Asked about his decision, he told @Fred Katz he’s still on the Knicks “until July 1.” “We’ll talk to teams, we’ll see.”
"I’m gonna be right there [points about 15 rows back]. You know where [Kanter's manager] Hilmi [Cinar] sits? I thought I’m gonna get seats right there [points courtside]. They gave me sears up there. It’s messed up. It’s OK." They can’t put you on the big board. "They can’t?" Tampering. "What does that mean?" Because you’re still on the Knicks. "Am I? Am I?" Are you going to opt out? You are technically on the Knicks. "Until July 1, yes. We’ll talk to teams. We’ll see." But yes, it’s tampering. I asked.
Ian Begley: Here's Enes Kanter talking about potentially opting out of his $18.6 million player option to seek a longer-term deal with NYK. FWIW: IF Kanter opts out (which I have my doubts about) & Kyle O’Quinn opts out, NYK could have roughly $18 million in cap space, per @Bobby Marks:

Mike Vorkunov: Talked to Mark Bartelstein, Kanter's agent about this. He said Kanter has a long ways to go on making a decision on his option and today's press conference was "much ado about nothing." "We're in April. There's a lot of due diligence and work that needs to be done."

Adam Zagoria: "All the speculation with Enes is premature. There's a ton of due diligence that has to be done. The season just ended. We're not leaning one way or the other right now. We'll go through that process over the next couple of months." - agent Mark Bartelstein tells @SNYtv

Ian Begley: Enes Kanter says he wants to be in New York long term. Says it's accurate to say he's leaning toward opting out of his $18.6 million player option to seek a longer-term deal.

Kanter, who announced last month that he was hiring Mark Bartelstein as his new agent, has an $18 million player option this summer. It seems likely that Kanter will exercise the option, but opposing executives have come away with the impression that he was leaning toward opting out, presumably to pursue a multi-year contract. The executives referenced above drew those conclusions before Kanter hired Bartelstein, who, along with Mevlut 'Hilmi' Cinar, Kanter's manager, will help guide the 25-year-old through his decision.
Kanter is switching to agent Mark Bartelstein and mulling not picking up next season’s $18.6 million player option, but claims he won’t make a business decision to sit the final four games. “You’re always thinking the business part, but for me basketball comes first,” Kanter said. “We’ve got four games left and the Knicks are still paying me. The Knicks are paying for me to go out there and — if I’m healthy — to go out there to play. So if I feel really good, I’ll go out there and play.
“It’d be really selfish to think about opting in or opting out or thinking about my contract and not playing, giving up on my teammates and my team. It’d be really selfish. For me the Knicks are still paying me, I’m still part of this team. If I’m still healthy I’m just going to go out there and fight.” Kanter is averaging 14.1 points and 11 rebounds on 59.2 percent shooting.
Now even though they are no longer competing for a playoff spot, and they may not next season since Kristaps Porzingis will miss at least the first few months recovering from a torn ACL, Kanter is committed to staying with the Knicks. “This is the place I want to be,” Kanter said. “I’ve said it from the beginning because I know the organization. I love the city, lot of Turkish people. With KP or without KP, I want to be here for sure.
Kanter, who currently doesn’t have an agent, said he’s only thinking about this season. “I’m not saying I’m opting in or opting out,” Kanter said. “I’m going to focus on this season, finish this season. I don’t even have an agent yet. I’ll get an agent first and talk to him about [it]. My thing right now it would be selfish for me to just say I’ll do this, I’ll do that. I’m going to finish this season right, have fun with my teammates and start thinking about the contract stuff.”
You say you want to be here for a long time. What led you to that? Enes Kanter: I remember during the draft I went to see a lot of organizations. But after you play in New York, you don't really want to go anywhere else. The people around are so cool. I remember maybe it was my second month here. I was thinking, "This place is so cool, I want to retire here." I remember one of the media guys was asking me, "Is it too early to decide because you've been here for not even a half season? Why did you want to decide that you wanted to retire as a Knick?" I was like, "This is the place I want to be." You play at Madison Square Garden, you see all the famous people. I'm really cool with Ben Stiller.
Enes Kanter hasn’t even spent half a season with the Knicks, but he’s already said he wants to end his career with them. “Is it bad?” Kanter said smiling. Kanter’s future is up in the air, though. The 25-year-old center has an $18.4-million option for next season, and he’s said he hasn’t decided what he will do. Kanter said he just wants to focus on this season.
“You realize after you play for the Knicks, you don’t want to play for nobody else,” Kanter said. “Everything you need is here, the staff, the crowd, the team, the organization, you don’t want to play for nobody else. This is the place.”
It's been long assumed Enes Kanter will opt into the final year of his contract. The $18.4 million is just too great. But with the 25-year-old enjoying his best season in the NBA, the idea that perhaps this isn't a given is worth exploring — especially since Kanter says he hasn't made up his mind. "It's always on your mind," Kanter told the Daily News. "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. "People think about it too much and then it affects them, it affects their game, it affects their whole team. When the season is over, that's the time to think about it."
The Oklahoma City Thunder has exercised its right of first refusal and matched the offer sheet extended to center Enes Kanter by the Portland Trail Blazers, it was announced today by Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti. Per team policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed. “We traded for Enes last season with the intention of keeping him as a member of the Thunder for several years to come, and we are excited that he will continue with us,” said Presti. “He adds valuable depth to our roster, diversity to our frontcourt and the dimension that he brings offensively will positively impact our team.”
David Aldridge: Source indicates OKC will, as expected, match the 4-year, $70M offer sheet today for big man Enes Kanter, given Thursday by Portland. Thunder GM Sam Presti told the Oklahoman Thursday afternoon that his team's intention of matching any offer for Kanter hadn't changed.
Oklahoma City Thunder center Enes Kanter has signed a four-year, $70 million max offer sheet from the Portland Trail Blazers, a person with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press. NBA.com first reported Thursday that Portland was expected to sign Kanter to the offer sheet. A league source told ESPN's Ramona Shelburne that the Oklahoma City Thunder are determined to match the offer sheet. They now have three days to do so.
Oklahoma City restricted free-agent center Enes Kanter is signing a four-year, $70 million maximum contract offer sheet Thursday with the Portland Trail Blazers, league sources told Yahoo Sports. Enes’ deal will include a player option on the fourth year, and a 15 percent trade kicker bonus. Kanter traveled to Portland on Thursday to sign the sheet, and it can be immediately transmitted electronically to Oklahoma City. The Thunder have three days to match the offer sheet and retain Kanter – or decide to let him leave for the Blazers. The clock starts once the signed offer sheet is sent to the Thunder.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Kanter offer sheet is expected to include a trade kicker too, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
Zach Lowe: OKC is just about $2.5M under the tax, so a max deal for Kanter would cost them nearly $40M. OKC will likely match, + then look to deal Novak/Augustin/PJII for $0. But POR is forcing their hand. Lots of teams were rooting for this.
Storyline: Enes Kanter Free Agency
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