Blazers Sign Center Enes Kanter
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Center Enes Kanter has joined the Portland Trail Blazers.
Kanter was waived by the New York Knicks along with Wesley Matthews following the trade deadline last week. Kanter announced Wednesday on Twitter that he had signed with the Blazers for the rest of the season. The deal was first reported by ESPN.
"I look forward to helping the Blazers achieve the ultimate goal of competing for a championship," he said on the post. "Excited to meet my new teammates, coaches, staff and most importantly the fans. It is a blessing to continue to compete at the highest level."
Kanter was once a starter for the Knicks but fell out of the rotation altogether when the team — with the worst record in the league — turned its focus to younger players. The Knicks could not find a deal for Kanter before the deadline.
The center from Turkey came to the Knicks from Oklahoma City in the Carmelo Anthony trade in September 2017 and averaged 14 points and 10.8 rebounds in 115 games over two seasons. He had become frustrated after first losing his starting spot and then any spot at all in recent weeks.
"He's a bona fide player in this league, if you look at his body of work, he's a great rebounder, a great offensive rebounder. He can score and get rebounds in a short amount of time and I think that the role we have for him will really be good for him and really be good for us, as far as providing a different dimension off our bench," Blazers coach Terry Stotts said.
The Blazers previously made a four-year, $70 million offer for Kanter in 2015 when he was a restricted free agent, but the Thunder matched it.
Kanter will play behind Portland's starting center Jusuf Nurkic in a strong second unit that includes Seth Curry, Jake Layman, Rodney Hood and Evan Turner.