Enes Kanter Rumors: Celtics, Blazers to Speak with UFA at Start of Free Agency

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistJune 30, 2019

Portland Trail Blazers center Enes Kanter (00) in the first half of an NBA basketball game Friday, April 5, 2019, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
David Zalubowski/Associated Press

The Portland Trail Blazers will reportedly attempt to re-sign center Enes Kanter when the NBA free-agent moratorium period opens Sunday at 6 p.m. ET.

Marc J. Spears of ESPN's The Undefeated reported the Boston Celtics are also expected to speak with Kanter on Sunday night.

The 33-year-old post player signed with the Blazers in February after getting waived by the New York Knicks. His role increased after the team's starting center, Jusuf Nurkic, suffered a season-ending leg injury in late March.

Kanter averaged 13.1 points, 8.6 rebounds and 1.4 assists while shooting 57.7 percent from the floor across 23 games (eight starts) for Portland.

In April, he discussed going from the lowly Knicks to a contender, which eventually went on the reach the Western Conference Finals before falling to the Golden State Warriors.

"I was on the worst team in the league and I wasn't even playing because they thought I was too old to play, and with the situation and all the drama and everything, it was frustrating because I just wanted to go out there and win," Kanter told reporters. "Just a couple of days ago I looked in the mirror and said I am blessed to be here, with an amazing organization and amazing teammates."

The Blazers haven't announced a timetable for Nurkic's return, so it's possible Kanter could open next season as a starter depending on the length of his rehab.

Meanwhile, the Celtics are a team in transition after failing to reach sky-high expectations, and both of their frontcourt starters, center Al Horford and power forward Marcus Morris, are set to hit the free-agent market Sunday night.

So Kanter could position himself to play a key role alongside Kemba Walker—who ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported is expected to land with Boston—Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum heading into next season by signing with the C's.