Danny Ainge himself admitted Enes Kanter probably could have made more money elsewhere.
So, why did the veteran big man choose the Boston Celtics in free agency? You can thank Evan Turner in part.
As Kanter considered the C's as a free-agent destination, Ainge suggested he reach out to Turner, his teammate on the Portland Trail Blazers for part of the 2019 season and former Celtic who spent two seasons in Boston from 2014 to 2016.
Turns out that was a good suggestion, as Turner gave Kanter a five-star review of the C's.
"He told me how amazing and friendly the front office was," Kanter told The Athletic's Jay King on Wednesday after his introductory press conference at the Auerbach Center. "He told me it’s like a family. From the moment that you step on that court, they’re going to love you, treat you like family."
Turner also sold Kanter on the basketball side of Boston, and with good reason: The veteran wing parlayed two solid seasons under Celtics head coach Brad Stevens into a four-year, $70 million contract with the Blazers.
"(Turner) told me how much he trusts in Brad," Kanter told King. "All he kept saying is how much he trusts in him.
" ... He told me amazing things about the organization, about the fan base, about the coaching staff and everything. So, it’s pretty awesome."
Combine Kanter's trust in Turner (one of his close friends in Boston) with a separate phone call from fellow recruit Kemba Walker and a good first impression from the Celtics' ownership, and the 27-year-old big man was convinced to sign in Boston -- where he fittingly took Turner's former No. 11 jersey.
"I just met all the owners today,” Kanter said at his press conference. "I’ve never seen anything like this before. They actually come talk to you, and that just shows so much respect. They’re having a conversation with you. That's something that’s very special."
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