Enes Kanter has been a fan favorite for the New York Knicks this year. He excels in multiple parts of the game, and has been a huge contributor to the Knicks this season. Should they consider signing him to a long-term deal?
Enes Kanter was the main piece coming to the New York Knicks in the trade that sent Carmelo Anthony to the Oklahoma City Thunder. In 2017-18, Kanter has been a key cog for the Knicks.
He has not only excelled offensively, but has been a great rebounder and leader for a Knicks team that features many young players.
Kanter is averaging a double-double, and contributing consistently to New York’s offense. Playing 58 out of 62 games this season, Kanter has proven to be an effective and reliable option for head coach Jeff Hornacek.
Despite all of this, the question stands: Should the Knicks sign him long-term?
Desire to be a Knick
According to Ian Begley of ESPN.com, Kanter has publicly stated that he wants to stay with the Knicks, going so far as to say that he would like to retire in the orange and blue.
"“But after you play in New York, you don’t really want to go anywhere else. The people around are so cool. I remember maybe it was my second month here. I was thinking, ‘This place is so cool, I want to retire here’.”"
Kanter’s desire to retire a Knick is something this organization hasn’t seen from many players lately. Players feel that the Knicks lack of success has diluted the attraction of playing in “The Mecca of Basketball.”
That’s a primary reason why the Knicks have struck out on big free agents in recent years.
Kanter has also shown an ability to lead. A huge example was what transpired during a widely discussed contest against the Cleveland Cavaliers. During the game, rookie guard Frank Ntilikina and LeBron James went face-to-face in a small skirmish.
Although Ntilikina didn’t back down, Kanter came to his teammate’s aid.
This move says something about Kanter and how great of a leader he can be for this team.
Offense and Rebounding
Kanter’s 10.7 rebounds per game is the highest average of his NBA career thus far. Fourth in the league in offensive rebounds, Kanter has given the Knicks opportunities for second chance points, which is important for a roster whose primary offensive weapon is now on the sideline.
Giving the Knicks a post presence and rebounding nightmare on both ends of the floor, Kanter has provided the Knicks with a great return on their trade investment.
If I were the Knicks, I would analyze what comes with Enes Kanter. Kanter brings leadership, scoring, rebounding, and old-fashioned Knicks grit. A player who plays his heart out every play is hard to find these days in the NBA.
If I’m the New York Knicks, this is a no-brainer. Pay the man and keep him a New York Knick for life.