Blazers' Enes Kanter has a message for the Knicks and every team that didn't pick him

Yahoo Sports Contributor
Yahoo Sports

Enes Kanter is moving on to the second round of the NBA playoffs after the Portland Trail Blazers closed out their series against the Oklahoma City Thunder with a Damian Lillard 3-pointer at the buzzer in Game 5.

Kanter started in place of Jusuf Nurkic, out with a season-ending injury, and had 13 points, 13 rebounds and four assists in the 118-115 victory while playing through a separated shoulder.

Scroll to continue with content
Ad

His message to the New York Knicks, who waived him after the trade deadline, was just as much of a dagger as his play on the court.

From the Washington Post’s Ben Golliver:

“First, I would definitely like to thank [the] Knicks for waiving me,” Kanter said, all smiles to a laughing press conference. “So that [win] would never happen if they didn’t waive me first, so I appreciate the whole Knicks organization.

“Second, I want to appreciate all the teams that didn’t pick me. I tried to actually sign with lots of teams. They weren’t interested.”

Kanter called it a blessing to be with the Trail Blazers, who won their first playoff series since 2016. The Knicks officially waived him hours after the trade deadline in February after failing to garner a trade for the 26-year-old center. It came following a diminished role with the team and criticism for it. He agreed to a deal with the Trail Blazers a week later, reportedly deciding against going to the LeBron James-led Los Angeles Lakers.

Kanter had more shade to throw in his return to the playoff stage, delivered with a single tweet after his press conference to another of his former teams.

The dig is in reference to the 2017 playoff series between the Thunder, where he spent 2 1/2 seasons, and the Houston Rockets. Thunder coach Billy Donovan was caught on the broadcast leaning over to his assistant to say, “Can’t play Kanter,” after the Rockets scored another fourth-quarter bucket.

Donovan later said it was taken out of context. Kanter clearly still remembers the moment and took his shot at the right time.

Third-seeded Portland will play either the second-seeded Denver Nuggets or the San Antonio Spurs in the second round. The Nuggets have a 3-2 series lead.

Enes Kanter is on to the second round of the NBA playoffs, but not without giving some appreciation first. (Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images)
Enes Kanter is on to the second round of the NBA playoffs, but not without giving some appreciation first. (Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images)

More from Yahoo Sports:

What to Read Next