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Knicks' Enes Kanter after first DNP of career: Play me or 'get me out of here'

Kevin Knox #20 (L) and Enes Kanter #00

Kevin Knox #20 (L) and Enes Kanter #00 of the New York Knicks look on from the bench during a game against the Houston Rockets at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2019. Credit: Jim McIsaac

The many moods of Enes Kanter took another hit Wednesday. And this one might be the one that pushes him out of New York.

Kanter went from being told in the morning by Knicks coach David Fizdale that he would be starting Wednesday night against the Rockets to finding himself left on the bench for the first DNP of his career.

“I think what they’re doing to me is pretty messed up because they just told me this morning that I’m starting,” Kanter said. “Coach said it himself that I’m starting. I come to the game and didn’t even play. I’m trying to be a good teammate here, man. The whole league knows me. I’m always with my teammates, with the organization, that I play for. Like I said, I want to play basketball. We’re all competitors. I want to play basketball. So just if you’re going to play me here play me. If not, then just get me out of here.”

After informing him that his playing time would be cut before Monday’s game, then turning to him when Luke Kornet was injured - and speculating openly that he would start Wednesday night against the Rockets. But instead, after preaching the need to develop young players, Kanter not only didn’t start, but the addition to the starting lineup was Lance Thomas, one of the few players older than him on the roster.

Thomas was inserted as the starter at power forward and Noah Vonleh was moved over to center with Kornet sidelined with a sprained ankle and bone bruise.

“It’s so frustrating,” Kanter said. “This morning in the meeting he said I’m starting. Now coming to the game ready to go and I’m sitting on the bench. I can not get caught up with all that stuff. My job right now is just cheer for my teammates and try to be a good teammate. Like I said, what they’re doing to me is pretty messed up. I deserve way better.”

Kanter has already spoken to Knicks general manager Scott Perry about his situation and the team has been seeking a trading partner to take on the expiring contract of Kanter without bringing back a lengthier deal onto the Knicks salary cap.

New York Sports