Celtics expected to show interest in Turkish big man Enes Kanter after release by Knicks


The NBA buyout market should kick into gear after Thursday's trade deadline, and reported player of interest for the Celtics is Knicks big man Enes Kanter.

According to rival executives cited by ESPN, the Celtics are expected to make a play for the Turkish center, who is averaging 14 points and 10.5 rebounds per game in only 25 minutes a night. While he'd help address a deficiency in the rebounding department and bring an inside presence to the second unit, Kanter is also considered a woeful defender, which seemingly wouldn't make him a great fit in Boston.

Then again, the Celtics were OK with adding the defensively challenged Greg Monroe last year, and he ended up averaging 10.2 points and 6.3 rebounds a game in limited minutes before being relegated to mostly garbage time and DNPs in the playoffs. At this stage in his career, the 26-year-old Kanter would represent an upgrade on that production.

The 6-11, 250-pounder was the third overall pick in the 2011 draft by the Jazz. He blossomed after joining the Thunder as part of a three-team deal at the 2015 trade deadline, but has seen his playing time decrease with the rebuilding Knicks.

"Each day I spend in the NBA is a blessing and I look forward to my next adventure," Kanter posted on Twitter after his release. " As grateful as I am (to the Knicks), I am also excited to continue playing basketball and showcasing that I can be one of the most dominant forces in the paint. New York will always have a special place in my heart and I look forward to returning here and playing in front of these amazing fans again."

Kanter is perhaps best known for being considered an enemy of the state in Turkey, where authoritarian president RecepTayyip Erdogan has cracked down on dissent. Kanter is a vocal critic of the regime, and refused to travel with the Knicks to London earlier this season for fear that he could be assassinated.