Shortly after the 2018-19 NBA trade deadline passed, the New York Knicks waived Enes Kanter prior to the March 1 deadline to be eligible for the playoffs.
After 1.5 seasons with the Knicks, Kanter only played in three of the team’s last 12 games for head coach David Fizdale and voiced his displeasure with his role.
As Kanter averaged 14.0 points and 10.5 rebounds in just 25.6 minutes, he headlined what is expected to be a strong buyout market.
While the Los Angeles Lakers have an open roster spot following the two trades, Kanter ultimately signed with the Portland Trail Blazers for the remainder of the 2018-19 NBA season, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:
Blazers beat a crowded field for Kanter, including the Lakers, per sources. Kanter is an important addition for Blazers, where he'll play a good share of minutes. Portland signed Kanter to a $70M offer sheet in 2015, which OKC matched. https://t.co/1Qdd1Ff43G
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 13, 2019
Although Kanter and LeBron James have an interesting history, the Lakers were most likely looking to improve their depth at center. Despite trading for Mike Muscala, JaVale McGee has been inconsistent and Tyson Chandler has had to rest at this stage of his career.
With Kanter signing with the Blazers, all of the attention has naturally been on Carmelo Anthony. However, the Lakers are reportedly interested in Markieff Morris, who was recently cleared to play after recovering from a neck injury.
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