Enes Kanter won’t make a final decision until June 29, but the New York Knicks is leaning towards accepting his player option for the 2018-19 season.
The New York Knicks aren’t expected to make noise in free agency, but the events of 2018 will have a direct impact on what transpires in 2019. New York has made it known that it plans to pursue a big-name free agent next summer, which will require a measure of long-term planning.
While the Knicks generally control their own destiny from a financial perspective, there’s one exception: Enes Kanter and his $18.6 million player option.
Kanter has spoken at length about his desire to play for the Knicks long-term. With New York looking to preserve cap space for the summer of 2019, however, his future has been called into question, if only because of the financial aspect of future negotiations.
According to Ian Begley of ESPN New York, Kanter is leaning towards a decision that would help both sides: Opting in for the 2018-19 season.
There are 18.6 million reasons for Kanter to accept his player option, but the implications are bigger than the short-term money.
Kanter became a fan favorite in 2017-18 for his leadership and physicality on the court. He was a double-double machine for the Knicks, as well as a consistent source of energy and intensity—traits that few have embodied in recent years.
Bringing back a player who can score in isolation and dominate the boards would certainly make sense, especially if Kanter becomes proficient with the outside shot.
The reason he’d opt in goes beyond the $18.6 million and short-term value, however, as it’d help both sides build for the future.
If Kanter opts in, the Knicks would be able to go over the cap to re-sign him in 2019. In other words: New York would be able to sign a big name in free agency and still re-sign Kanter, which would become significantly more difficult if he opts out and re-signs this summer.
Kanter will be rewarded quite handsomely in the short-term if he opts in, but it’s the forward thinking of this move that would be most appealing.
The question is: Will New York Knicks center Enes Kanter actually accept his player option for the 2018-19 season? Thankfully for the Knicks, there’s a healthy chance he will.