Will Celtics’ Enes Kanter Return To Boston Next Season?

Getty Images Enes Kanter has a $5 million player-option for the 2020-2021 season

The Boston Celtics will look to revamp its roster ahead of the 2020-21 season and could be parting ways with its veteran backup center Enes Kanter.

According to Jared Weiss of The Athletic, Kanter will reportedly test the free agency waters. He’s expected to opt-out of his one-year player option, worth $5 million, left on his current deal.

“With the NBA likely to keep the cap line where it was, there could be some chairs left for Kanter when the music stops in a place with a backup role open,” Weiss writes. “Though Kanter strongly prioritizes being in a city where his political efforts can thrive (Boston, Washington, New York or Chicago), his desire for a warmer climate is mitigated by the NBA’s unusual calendar. He has enjoyed his time in Boston and is hoping to find a multi-year deal to get some stability with his career, but it may be tough to find that kind of deal this offseason.”

Is Enes Kanter Out Of Boston One Way Or Another?

Kanter, whose playing time decreased significantly throughout the Celtics’ playoff run, will seek a promising backup role elsewhere. He went from averaging 17 minutes a night throughout the course of the regular season to clocking in 9.3 minutes per game during Boston’s postseason run.

Kanter even received six DNPs as he watched his younger teammates play instead. Head coach Brad Stevens leaned on starting center Daniel Theis heavily, while incorporating Robert Williams and rookie Grant Williams into the fold, as well. It’s unlikely that Kanter’s diminished role in Boston will change next season.

However, if Kanter ultimately decides to opt-in to his deal and stay in Boston, the Celtics will look to trade the veteran big man anyways, according to Weiss.

“The deadline on Kanter’s player option was originally this Saturday, but league sources tell The Athletic that option deadlines have been postponed until the NBA finalizes the start of free agency, currently projected for December 1,” Weiss writes. “There is always the possibility he will opt-in with the understanding that the Celtics will use his salary for a draft-night trade, so even if Kanter exercises the option it may not ensure he will be in green in 2021.”

Danny Ainge’s Salary Cap Concerns

Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge won’t have much wiggle room in terms of cap space this off-season. But with great finesse, Kanter’s $5 million will come in handy as Ainge attempts to spice up Stevens’ second unit.

Also, with the Celtics approaching the tax line, it’s not a bad time for Danny to cut bait. Guys like Semi Ojeleye, Javonte Green, and Vincent Poirier are all in play, as well.

When you consider Gordon Hayward’s $34 million player-option, the luxury tax threshold, and four picks in the upcoming NBA Draft, including three first-rounders, it’s in Ainge’s best interest to consolidate as much as possible this winter.

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