Enes Kanter of the Knicks looks on from the bench...

Enes Kanter of the Knicks looks on from the bench during the first half against the Nets at Barclays Center on Friday. Credit: Jim McIsaac

Enes Kanter sat on the Knicks’ bench Friday, watching the Nets run away with a 109-99 win and listening to the fans at Barclays Center chant “You need Kanter!”

It may have been meant as a stinging jab at the Knicks and the situation they find themselves in, trying to move on from Kanter toward a better future while the present remains hard to watch. In any case, Kanter pointed to the fans in appreciation, even if it was a taunt.

Although his team was pummeled on the boards, coach David Fizdale never called upon Kanter, leaving him on the bench for a second straight game.

Afterward, he explained why he would move on from Kanter, 26 — who is averaging 14.4 points and 10.8 rebounds in 26.3 minutes — while starting Lance Thomas, 30, and giving 39 minutes to Tim Hardaway Jr., 26, on a 2-for-14 shooting night.

“We’re fighting for a certain style of play to start building for our future,” Fizdale said. “I want to be able to play a very versatile style in the future and I don’t want to wait to start working at that. And start building that out.”

That’s a reasonable explanation of why Kanter, a traditional old-school big man, might not fit, but as Fizdale continued, his reasoning turned curious at best.

“And that’s why Lance is much more of a Swiss Army knife type of player that can guard multiple positions and switch,’’ he said. “Tim Hardaway is making $18 million for two more years with us. He’s a part of our future from that standpoint.”

It’s odd for a coach to point to salary as a reason to play any player — particularly Fizdale, given that he’s sitting Kanter, who makes $17 million, and has insisted that the contract status of players such as Emmanuel Mudiay will not affect his decision-making. Kanter will be a free agent at season’s end.

“So I have to start building that way and thinking about systematically, because if I’m going to develop them, I’m going to develop them for what they’re going to be doing,” Fizdale said. “And so that’s why I’m making the decisions that I’m making from that standpoint. It’s nothing against Big Fella. From that area, I just think with two young bigs — really three with Luke [Kornet] — we have to get these guys as much experience and minutes as possible.”

That was the explanation that Fizdale provided to the media, and Kanter said he would appreciate hearing it from his coach.

“I wish that he [would] communicate with me,” he said. “I’m seeing [him] every day but he does not say a word to me. I wish. We are grown men. He could just come up to me and say, ‘You’re not fitting our whatever, you’re not fitting what we’re doing.’ I would just go, ‘OK, Coach, I’m just going to practice and try to get better and try to make my teammates better.’ He has not communicated with me anything yet.”

Kanter averaged 22.3 points and 13.0 rebounds in the previous three games against the Nets, and on this night, the Knicks were outrebounded 60-33.

Noah Vonleh, who started at center, had a career-high 22 points — 14 in the first quarter — along with 13 rebounds in 32 minutes. The Knicks (10-37) lost for the eighth straight game, the 16th time in 17 games and the 21st time in 23 games. They have the second-worst winning percentage in the NBA.

Fizdale said he could have turned to Kanter late but didn’t think it was fair to insert him cold. Kanter just stared in silence when that was relayed to him before replying, “All right. If that’s what the coach said, you’ve got to respect the coach. I respect the coach.”

Kanter has maintained that he will leave it in the hands of his agent to resolve the issues, but the Feb. 7 trade deadline looms as his best chance of a way out. If the Knicks cannot find a deal for him, they could negotiate a buyout that would allow him to join a playoff contender he could help.

“I said it from day one, I love New York,” he said. “I love the fans in here and everything. It would be very tough for me to leave because I still want to play for New York. People don’t understand the love of New York I have in my heart. If they would know, they would retire my jersey right now.

“I love New York. I love the fans. I love the atmosphere here. But it’s very tough for me to see my teammates out there not getting wins and I know I can help, but they’re just not letting me help. It’s pretty tough.”