Enes Kanter met with New York Knicks general manager Scott Perry this week to discuss his diminished role.
While Kanter said he did not request a trade, he did request playing time, a decision that falls to first-year coach David Fizdale. He has not started for the past three games — Luke Kornet earned the nod each of those games — prompting open questions from Kanter to media.
“I did not say, ‘Scott, trade me.’ No I did not say that,” Kanter said after Tuesday’s loss at Denver. “Because I like it here a lot. And I probably won’t say to Scott’s face, ‘Scott I want to get traded.’ Because I like it here a lot. But again, in the end, we all are competitors, basketball players. I like it here so much, but again I want to win. I want this team to get to the playoffs one day. This is my blood, man, I’m sorry. If anyone asks anything else, I’m not going to do it. I’m going out there to get a win every time.”
Kanter has an expiring contract that pays him $18.6 million this season and could be attractive for teams hoping to create cap space next summer.
The loss to the Nuggets on Tuesday makes eight straight defeats for the Knicks, who share the second-worst record in the NBA with the Phoenix Suns.
“This organization is paying me. I don’t want no free money,” Kanter said. “So every time I’m out there I’m going to try to get a win. The second is just it’s a little weird, people are calling me from all over the league. They’re just saying keep your head up and stay strong. Even my own teammates are texting me and telling me just stay strong and keep your head up. I know what I’m capable of. I know this is the situation so I’m just sucking it up and trying to be a good teammate.”