Report: Knicks expected to negotiate buyout with Enes Kanter if trade deadline passes without deal

Jack BaerWriter
Yahoo Sports
<a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/nba/players/4899/" data-ylk="slk:Enes Kanter">Enes Kanter</a> has been ready to leave New York for a while. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
Enes Kanter has been ready to leave New York for a while. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

Even if the trade deadline goes by and Enes Kanter’s name doesn’t appear in any deal, the veteran can apparently breathe easy. He probably won’t be a member of the New York Knicks much longer.

The Knicks are expected to begin discussions with Kanter over a contract buyout once the trade deadline passes Thursday if the big man is still a member of the team, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports.

Such a development would make sense for everyone involved, though the Knicks would probably wish they had found someone out there willing to take the 26-year-old off their hands. Kanter’s $18.6 million salary has probably scared off most, if not all, suitors, so he should be able to find a landing spot pretty easily once he’s free of that deal.

Escape from New York, starring Enes Kanter

In 44 games played this season, Kanter has averaged 14.0 points and 10.5 rebounds per game while averaging 25.6 minutes on the floor. Defensive shortcomings aside, he would likely be a useful rotation big for nearly every contender. Of course, to do that, Kanter needs to get out of New York first.

While waiting for a possible trade to come around, Kanter has basically been stranded on Knicks island with the word “HELP” spelled out in rocks on the beach for the last few weeks. The Knicks have heavily restricted Kanter’s playing time since early January due to a desire to give minutes to younger centers that are in the team’s long-term plans.

That has left Kanter appearing in just three of the Knicks’ last 12 games while totaling 41 minutes. He’s been so starved for minutes, he once kissed the floor when he actually managed to enter a game.

Obviously, none of this has sat well with Kanter, who publicly pushed for the team to let him go if they won’t play him. With the deadline a day away, that outcome is looking very likely.

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