Enes Kanter got his wish: he’s playing for a winning team.
The free agent center, waived by the Knicks last week, announced Wednesday that he signed with the Portland Trail Blazers. He’ll presumably back up Jusuf Nurkic as the Blazers (33-23) make a push for home court advantage in the playoffs.
“I look forward to helping the Blazers achieve the ultimate goal of competing for a championship,” Kanter wrote on twitter. “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. Let’s go Rip City.”
There was a robust market for Kanter in free agency with the Lakers among teams interested, ESPN reported.
Kanter was cut after the Knicks couldn’t find a suitable trade for the 26-year-old by the Feb. 7 deadline. He was upset about his lack of playing time and the Knicks’ tanking strategy, which culminated in a public feud coach David Fizdale.
Kanter averaged 14 points and 10.5 rebounds in his 44 games with the Knicks this season – with roughly half coming off the bench. The Knicks (10-46) are 0-12 this season in games Kanter did not play, including nine DNPs toward the end.
Portland’s backup centers this season have been Myers Leonard and Zach Collins, neither of whom are averaging more than 18.1 minutes per game.