Celtics Signing Former Top-3 Pick, Record-Setting Blazers Big: Report

Celtics signing Enes Kanter

Getty Center Enes Kanter warms up before a game against the New Orleans Pelicans.

A reunion is on hand for the Boston Celtics and one of their former big men.

In their first signing of the 2021 NBA free agency period, The Athletic’s Shams Charania has reported that the Celtics have agreed to a one-year deal with center Enes Kanter.

The exact numbers of the deal have yet to be released. However, Jared Weiss of The Athletic claims the contract will likely be worth a portion of the mid-level exception. The Celtics insider added that both sides are “planning to get the deal finalized by noon on August 6th.” In the meantime, they will continue to work out whether the contract will be worth the $2.7 million veteran minimum or “a slightly larger slice” of the mid-level exception.

While we await the exact terms of the deal, Kanter doesn’t seem all too fazed by the ongoing talks. The 6-foot-10-inch, 250-pounder took to Twitter shortly after the news broke to share his excitement for his return to Beantown.

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Kanter Played Arguably The Best Ball of His Career in 2020-21

Kanter, who most recently played for the Portland Trail Blazers, appeared in 58 games (seven starts) with the Celtics in 2019-20. During that period he averaged just 8.1 points and 7.4 rebounds per game — both of which are bottom-three outputs throughout his 10-year career.

With that said, Kanter bounced back this past season, putting forth a highly productive campaign in Oregon. The Turkish center reverted back to his walking triple-double ways, averaging 11.2 points and 11.0 rebounds per game. The latter number tied a personal best for Kanter. He also shot an outstanding 60.4% from the field, his highest rate since entering the league as the No. 3 overall selection in the 2011 NBA draft.

The Stoneridge Preparatory School product enjoyed a historical night back in April of this year. Kanter snagged a Blazers franchise-record 30 rebounds to go along with 24 points in a victory over the Detroit Pistons. He became just the 16th player in NBA history to register a 30-rebound game, via basketball reference.

In an interesting turn of events, this will be Kanter’s second time leaving the Blazers for the Celtics. He originally signed a two-year, $10 million contract with Boston in 2019 after spending the prior campaign with the Blazers.

The Celtics proceeded to dump Kanter’s contract in a three-team deal the following offseason, delivering him back to Portland and unloading the 30th overall pick in the 2020 draft along the way. In return, Boston received two future second-round picks in return.

Celtics Answer to Tristan Thompson Trade?

While Robert Williams and Al Horford are still expected to man the majority of the minutes in Boston’s frontcourt next season, the recent trade of Tristan Thompson — and Moses Brown, at that — left a vacancy for a serviceable big off the bench. Kanter should fill that void.

While not the most well-rounded defender out there, the 29-year-old Kanter should have no issues emulating Thompson’s production, if not expanding on it. In the latter’s lone season with the Celtics, the veteran center averaged 7.6 points and 8.1 rebounds per game. Kanter, on the other hand, has averaged 11.5 points and 7.9 rebounds throughout his career.


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