Enes Kanter is not hitting NBA free agency.
The Boston Celtics center has exercised his $5 million player option for the 2020-21 NBA season, per ESPN's Tim Bontemps.
Kanter had a deadline of 5 p.m. ET on Thursday to decide whether to exercise his player option. If he declined it, he would've become an unrestricted free agent Friday.
Here's Chris Forsberg's take on Kanter's decision:
Enes Kanter triggered a $5 million player option. Kanter might not have been able to fetch that same dollar amount on the open market but now leaves himself open to being dealt in a trade. He’s expendable if the Celtics desire to lean heavier on Robert Williams and Grant Williams, or if the team further bolsters its big-man depth chart when free agency opens. Kanter’s salary could be helpful in any trade that might bring back a veteran player to bolster Boston’s bench. If the Celtics strike out in adding a big man, Kanter could be back in an energy role if the team continues to lean on a center-by-committee approach.
The 28-year-old veteran signed with the Celtics last July and averaged 8.1 points and 7.4 rebounds over 16.9 minutes in 58 games played during the 2019-20 campaign.
The Celtics currently have Robert Williams, Daniel Theis, Vincent Poirier and Kanter at center on their roster. Grant Williams also could play center in small-ball lineups, which the C's use often.