For nine minutes at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday, Enes Kanter was finally free again.
The New York Knicks center made his first appearance in five games due to a decision by the team to prioritize giving minutes to younger big men, a move that has left Kanter openly frustrated.
As Kanter made his way onto the floor, he knelt down a planted a kiss on the Knicks logo. Fans had been chanting “we want Kanter” and got their wish, though it didn’t immediately work out when Kanter airballed his first shot attempt of the night. Kanter would eventually finish with five points and two rebounds in nine minutes of play.
The Knicks didn’t exactly turn to Kanter at a critical juncture, finding themselves down 16 points with 5:34 remaining in the third quarter on their way to a 114-90 loss against the Dallas Mavericks, but just a few minutes on the court seemed like a welcome change of pace for Kanter.
Why the Knicks benched Enes Kanter
Kanter has appeared in only two of the Knicks’ last eight games, totaling just 28 minutes. It is worth noting that one of those absences was due to some bad nutritional choices, while another happened because of a possible threat of political assassination. Still, the main reason for Kanter’s benching is a desire to give more minutes to guys like Luke Kornet and Mitchell Robinson.
The Knicks, again in a rebuilding year, have lost 19 of their last 20 games. Obviously, that’s not the best situation for a veteran center, who openly lobbied for a trade if the Knicks weren’t going to play him.
Kanter will have to wait at least another day to escape from New York, but he was able to have some fun after the game on Twitter:
— Enes Kanter (@Enes_Kanter) January 31, 2019
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