Enes Kanter got his wish – he’s playing for a winning team.
The free agent center, waived by the Knicks last week, announced Wednesday that he signed with the Portland Trail Blazers. He’ll presumably back up Jusuf Nurkic as the Blazers (33-23) make a push for home court advantage in the playoffs.
The Celtics were also interested in signing Kanter, according to a source. The Lakers were also reportedly in the mix.
“I look forward to helping the Blazers achieve the ultimate goal of competing for a championship,” Kanter wrote on social media. “Excited to meet my new teammates, coaches, staff and most importantly the fans. It is a blessing to continue to compete at the highest level. Let’s go Rip City.”
Kanter was cut after the Knicks couldn’t find a suitable trade for the 26-year-old by the Feb. 7 deadline. He was upset about his lack of playing time and the Knicks’ tanking strategy, which progressed into a public feud with coach David Fizdale.
But the breakup was amicable and Kanter kept all of his $18.6 million salary when he was waived. Fizdale said Wednesday he was “happy” for the center.
“Seriously,” Fizdale said. “That’s a great deal for him to be landing with a playoff team.”
Kanter averaged 14 points and 10.5 rebounds in his 44 games with the Knicks this season – with roughly half coming off the bench. The Knicks (10-46) are 0-12 this season in games Kanter did not play heading into Wednesday, including nine DNP-CDs and three defeats after he was waived.