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Enes Kanter on his bench role: ‘If we’re losing, it’s a problem’

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Cool quote, bro.

NBA: New York Knicks at Milwaukee Bucks Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

The Knicks practiced at the University of Utah Friday in preparation for Saturday’s showdown with the Utah Jazz. As usual, Enes Kanter was in his element holding court in front of reporters. He had a lot to say about Thursday’s fracas with Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo. I’m not terribly interested in him calling out Giannis, or Bucks assistant coach Darvin Ham for touching him. What I found far more interesting was Kanter’s thoughts on teammate Luke Kornet replacing him in the starting lineup.

He started off with his usual spiel about David Fizdale, how Fiz is the coach and Kanter is willing to do whatever is bet for the team. But then Kanter let his guard down a bit and let the truth slip out. Per Marc Berman:

“For me to get to the next level just be a good teammate, support my teammate out there and clap for him and cheer for him,’’ Kanter added. “I’ll go out and do my job and help my team win. If we’re winning, it’s good. But if we’re losing it’s a problem. If this adjustment is going to get us a win, cool. But if not, there’s a problem. I came off the bench in OKC and Utah, so I’m used to this role and I’m going to lead the second unit again.”

If this adjustment is going to get us a win, cool. But if not, there’s a problem.

There it is. There’s the Kanter who pouted on the court when he was benched in favor of Michell Robinson earlier in the season, and who reacts to every perceived drop in minutes with a passive-aggressive tweet. What the hell is this “problem” he’s going to make for the Knicks, anyway? Is he going to stop playing defense? We’ve already seen that, buddy. Is he going to demand a buyout? Cool...peace out.

To his credit, Fizdale has been quite clear and consistent in his message that this season is about development. Kornet and Robinson are both likely to be on the team next year; Kanter isn’t. Not only is he an impending free agent, he is (I pray) way behind Noah Vonleh on the team’s list of potential re-signees.

So please, Enes, if you want another NBA contract from any team, kindly shut your mouth and play your role on your current club. You refer to yourself repeatedly as an eight-year vet, so how about you act like one.