Enes Kanter Says Lack of Playing Time 'Disrespectful' After DeAndre Jordan Trade

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistFebruary 2, 2019

Dallas Mavericks forward Dwight Powell (7) defends New York Knicks center Enes Kanter (00) during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2019, in New York. The Mavericks defeated the Knicks 114-90. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
Kathy Willens/Associated Press

New York Knicks head coach David Fizdale has said that DeAndre Jordan will play for the team after joining in the shocking trade of Kristaps Porzingis to the Dallas Mavericks, and Enes Kanter—who has seen his playing time slashed to get minutes for younger players such as Mitchell Robinson—isn't happy about it.

"I'm giving up my minutes just because the young guys can get better," he said Friday, per Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic. "I'm 26. I think the guys that came are older than me right? So I don't know what that means. I don't know, man. I think it's disrespectful."

Fizdale noted that he wanted to get Jordan and Wesley Matthews minutes to "help the younger Knicks learn defensive principles," per Ian Begley of ESPN.com. But given that the Knicks are likely to be in tanking mode for the rest of the season to increase their chances at the top overall pick and budding superstar Zion Williamson from Duke, it's possible both are buyout candidates in the long run.

Nonetheless, it hasn't been an easy season for Kanter, and he told reporters Friday even Porzingis was frustrated on his behalf before the trade (h/t Chris Iseman of NorthJersey.com):

"Yes, he was frustrated for me, too, because I guess just how I was being treated. He talked to me a lot. He actually wanted to go to lunch with me before he left, but obviously the trade happened. Like I said, he was so frustrated just because I was frustrated. It was tough because he was seeing his brother was frustrated out there. He’s an amazing player, man. He’s obviously going to become a Hall-of-Famer one day. I wish him the best."

Kanter has played in just three of the team's last 10 games and saw his minutes drop to 21.7 per game in January, below his season average of 25.6. He's been a solid producer offensively in the time he's been given, averaging 14.0 points and 10.5 rebounds per game, but his defense remains a weakness.

When Kanter is on the court, the Knicks have a defensive rating of 113.4, per NBA.com. When he's off the court, that drops down to a more manageable 109.6. And while most of the Knicks don't have a great net rating amid a 10-41 season, Kanter's -9.6 net rating is the fourth-worst mark on the team.

Kanter's time with the Knicks almost assuredly won't last beyond this season, and it's possible he could be moved before the trade deadline, though the team would want to get back other expiring contracts in any deal to maintain two max slots heading into this summer. So, it's possible that Kanter will have to play out the string in New York.

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