Enes Kanter Rumors: Lakers, Celtics, Blazers Interested in Free-Agent Center

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistJune 26, 2019

Portland Trail Blazers center Enes Kanter (00) in the second half of an NBA basketball game Friday, April 5, 2019, in Denver. The Nuggets won 119-110. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
David Zalubowski/Associated Press

Enes Kanter is already a wanted man in free agency, with at least three teams interested in his services ahead of the June 30 start of free agency.

According to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, the Los Angeles Lakers, Boston Celtics and Portland Trail Blazers have all shown interest in the 27-year-old.

Kanter finished last season with the Trail Blazers, averaging 13.1 points and 8.6 rebounds rebounds per game in 23 regular-season appearances.

The center was especially valuable in the playoffs, tallying five double-doubles in 16 games while providing some much-needed balance from the frontcourt for Portland. He had 20 points, 18 rebounds and two blocks in the Game 1 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder, setting a tone for the rest of the playoffs.

His post play helped the squad reach the Western Conference Finals for the first time since 2000.

It makes sense for the Blazers to try to keep him on the roster going forward, although he might not be needed quite as much next year with Jusuf Nurkic returning from the leg injury that ended his season early.

The Lakers are also a surprising option considering their need for backcourt help and limited cap space.

Between LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Kyle Kuzma, playing time in the frontcourt would likely be scarce. This move could only make sense if Kanter is willing to take a smaller role and a discount after making $18.6 million last season.

Boston arguably makes the most sense as a contending team that needs help down low.

Al Horford is likely leaving in free agency, per the Boston Herald's Steve Bulpett, while Aron Baynes is headed to the Phoenix Suns. Kanter has his question marks on the defensive end, but he could help fill the center void and help the Celtics remain a threat in the Eastern Conference.