BOSTON — Enes Kanter was on the floor before Friday night’s game, dressed in a suit and sidelined for a third straight game with a knee contusion. But that didn’t stop him from exchanging greetings — and insults — with his former Knicks teammates.
“Oh, yeah, one of the guys was just telling me how bad my suit looks,” Kanter said. “I said, ‘Your haircut looks worse than my suit.’ But I love all those guys, even Julius Randle. We had this beef and everything, but you know what, we played a pickup game this summer. He’s an amazing dude. I see there are a lot of good characters on the team. I’m excited to see them grow together.”
Kanter’s time in New York came to an awkward ending last season when his desire to play and win with a team moving toward the NBA Draft Lottery caused a conflict. The political turmoil that surrounded him didn’t make it any easier.
He was waived and signed with the Portland Trail Blazers, starting at center as the team advanced to the Western Conference finals. He then signed with the Celtics, finding his way to another team with championship aspirations.
“I had an amazing time, man,” Kanter said of his time in New York. “I learned a lot on and off the court. Obviously, I played in one of the biggest organizations in the league. It was just fun to see the team grow, for me to grow. I learned a lot on and off the court. The organization made me better, made me a better person. In the end it worked out for me because I went to Portland and we made the Western Conference finals. I am blessed.”
Kanter did not make it to New York for last week’s Celtics-Knicks game and was out of action this time, but he is looking forward to the Dec. 1 game at the Garden.
“Of course. I mean last time I was at Madison Square Garden, I was wrestling,” he said. “But yeah, man. I think it’s going to be a very special moment for me. I played with those guys. They always had my back almost two years. I had an amazing time. Fans were amazing all the time. I cannot wait.”