Enes Kanter: Players are scared to play for Knicks because of owner James Dolan

Ryan Young
According to Enes Kanter, players across the league are scared to play for the Knicks only because of team owner James Dolan.
According to Enes Kanter, players across the league are scared to play for the Knicks only because of team owner James Dolan. (AP/Brandon Dill)

The New York Knicks have struggled to land a star in free agency for quite some time — or even retain the stars they do have on their roster.

Last summer was a prime example of the organization’s struggles, having lost Kristaps Porzingis and failing to land any major free agent despite having an insane amount of cap space available.

Former Knicks big man Enes Kanter said on Sunday that players he talks to around the league are simply scared of owner James Dolan, and don’t want to take a chance playing for his team.

“Not many people know that, but players talk. From different teams, they talk,” Kanter said on Bleacher Report’s The Full 48 podcast. “I’m not blaming anybody. I had an amazing time with the Knicks. But other teammates that I talked to or if they’re on different teams, they always said, ‘Amazing city, MSG is amazing everything is so good, but the ownership.’ They would just keep saying, ‘But the ownership.’ … Some of the players I guess are just scared to come here and don’t even want to deal with that.”

Kanter played for the Knicks for a season and a half, and was released from the team in February — something he was thrilled about. The 27-year-old finished out the year with the Portland Trail Blazers, and then signed a two-year, $10 million deal with the Boston Celtics this summer.

Despite the Knicks playing in both the best area and the biggest market in the country, the Knicks are losing constantly. The team hasn’t reached the postseason since the 2012-13 season, and only has four seasons with winning records this century — the worst performance in the league.

With the constant struggles, Kanter understands why a star wouldn’t want to waste his prime playing years in the organization. And, when they traded for and then started DeAndre Jordan over him, he knew it was time to leave.

When he finally was released, he “was very happy.”

“My job is to go out there and play as hard as I can, because all the fans are paying so much money to come and see the game. Especially at the Garden. It’s packed every game, even if we’re losing,” Kanter said. “My problem I guess was that I wanted to win. Something that didn’t make sense is they told me I’m too old to play, and I was 26, and I was like, ‘That doesn’t make sense.’

“Then they bring a guy in four or five years older than me and they start playing him, I’m like, ‘This doesn’t make sense.’”

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