Despite his dissatisfaction with his new role and the current trajectory of the New York Knicks, center Enes Kanter says he did not request a trade during a New Year's Eve meeting with general manager Scott Perry.
"I did not say, 'Scott, trade me.' No, I did not say that,'' Kanter told reporters Tuesday after his third straight game out of the starting lineup, according to ESPN. "Because I like it here a lot. And I probably won't say to Scott's face, 'Scott I want to get traded.' Because I like it here a lot."
In a league-high 38 appearances this season, the Turkish big man has averaged 14.4 points, 10.6 rebounds, and 1.9 assists per game. But after averaging 27.2 minutes per game through his first 35 outings, Kanter's playing time has dropped to an average of just 17.2 minutes since his recent move to the bench.
For his part, Kanter said his frustration has more to do with the team's overall success than his personal production.
"But again, in the end, we all are competitors, basketball players," He explained. "I like it here so much, but again I want to win. I want this team to get to the playoffs one day. This is my blood, man. ... I'm going out there to get a win every time."
Kanter apparently understands the challenges of turning the Knicks into a competitive squad, though, and his leadership role in making that happen.
"I even asked Scott, if you were in my situation, what would you do?'' the 26-year-old added. "He said, 'The whole league knows you. Right now, we know that you are a very, very good basketball player. Now I want you to go out there and try to have that good character, try to be a good teammate, and try to help all the people.' I understand we're not winning a lot right now. But I guess it's all for the young guys."
The Knicks, who have been without Kristaps Porzingis all season as the All-Star recovers from a torn ACL, sport a 9-29 record. They're tied with the Phoenix Suns for the second-worst record in the league, ahead of only the languid Cleveland Cavaliers.