"I want to play basketball," he said afterward, per Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic. "If you're going to play me here, play me. If not, get me out of here."
Vorkunov shared more of Kanter's comments, in which he said he was told he would start the game but ended up not playing at all:
Mike Vorkunov @MikeVorkunov
Enes Kanter says he was told this morning by the Knicks he would start tonight vs the Rockets. He got a DNP instead. "What they're doing to me is pretty messed up. I deserve better." Kanter pretty much asks to be traded. "You either play me or let me play." https://t.co/EufOCAkidF
Kanter didn't play in three of the Knicks' previous four games entering Wednesday's contest, and Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News reported Tuesday that the big man was told he fell on the depth chart and won't see much playing time.
However, Bondy pointed out things changed when starting center Luke Kornet suffered an ankle sprain. That decreased the "urgency" to trade Kanter and seemingly opened up the opportunity for more playing time.
Alas, that was not the case Wednesday as James Harden poured in a career-high 61 points and extended his streak of games with 30 or more points to 21 as Kanter watched from the bench.
Kanter is a double-double threat every time he steps on the floor and is averaging 14.4 points and 10.8 rebounds per night this season. He is also only 26 years old and is a playoff-tested veteran with 27 postseason games on his resume with the Oklahoma City Thunder and Utah Jazz.
Contenders may be inclined to trade for him, although he comes with defensive concerns. The Knicks' defensive rating is 113.0 when he's on the court and 109.9 when he's off it, and opponents shoot 3.3 percentage points above than their normal averages when he defends them, per NBA.com.
Still, Kanter is a prime trade candidate since he is set to become an unrestricted free agent this coming offseason. The Knicks—who are not playoff contenders and could accelerate their rebuild with draft assets—should attempt to get something in return for him before he hits the open market.