Enes Kanter has yet to make a decision about his player option, but New York Knicks head coach David Fizdale is influencing his line of thinking.
The New York Knicks are anxiously awaiting a final decision from starting center Enes Kanter. Kanter has a player option for the 2018-19 NBA season that would pay him upwards of $18.6 million, but he’d also have multiple suitors in the event that he enters free agency.
While Kanter will delay this decision until the last possible moment, he’s conceded that the decision to hire David Fizdale as head coach has influenced his line of thinking.
Despite spending less than two months on the job, Fizdale is already making waves in New York. He’s made connections with a number of key contributors, including Kristaps Porzingis, Frank Ntilikina, Tim Hardaway Jr., and Emmanuel Mudiay.
According to Marc Berman of The New York Post, the presence of coach Fizdale is also making Kanter want to stay with the Knicks.
"“With Coach Fizdale, I want to stay more,’’ Kanter told The Post in a phone interview Monday night. “I know his mentality, I know how much freedom he gives to his players. It’s going to help my decision for sure. I think he’s going to change a lot of things. He seems like a relationship with him is like a friendship relationship. It’s not a player-coach relationship. I talked to him for two hours and it gives you so much confidence.’’"
Kanter is the latest in a growing line of Knicks who have expressed an excitement to play for Fizdale during the 2018-19 season.
It’s worth noting that Kanter has spent a healthy portion of his offseason working on the addition of an efficient three-point shot to his offensive arsenal. For those wondering why he’s focusing on that area of his game, it was actually Fizdale who encouraged him to do so.
The fact that Kanter is catering his offseason workouts to the advice Fizdale has given him appears to display the trust he’s already placing in the Knicks’ new head coach.
The fact that Fizdale helped Marc Gasol go from a non-factor beyond the arc to a virtual marksman is a sign that he knows what he’s doing.
Kanter is already one of the most unstoppable offensive forces that the NBA has to offer at the center position. In 2017-18, Kanter averaged 14.1 points per game and 19.7 points per 36 minutes while ranking fifth in the NBA in field goal percentage and fourth amongst centers in free throw percentage.
Kanter also ranked No. 1 in the Association in offensive rebound percentage, which suggests he could be a three-ball away from making the leap to an even greater level.
Regardless of what the future holds for Enes Kanter, it’s clear that David Fizdale is making an impression on the New York Knicks.