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Enes Kanter says he’s leaning toward declining $18,622,514 player option with Knicks

New York Knicks v Golden State Warriors

OAKLAND, CA - JANUARY 23: Enes Kanter #00 of the New York Knicks complains about a call during their game against the Golden State Warriors at ORACLE Arena on January 23, 2018 in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

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Enes Kanter is fiercely loyal to the Thunder Knicks.

An easy way to stay in New York? Exercise his $18,622,514 player option for next season. It doesn’t hurt that Kanter isn’t worth nearly that salary.

But he wants a commitment for longer than one year. So, he says he’s leaning toward opting out.

Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News:

If Kanter opts out to pursue a long-term deal, he better have a firm promise of one before declining the option. It’ll be a tight market, especially for centers and especially especially for centers who neither defend nor shoot 3-pointers well.

The Knicks, who are strapped with several overpaid players next season regardless (Joakim Noah, Tim Hardaway Jr., Courtney Lee, Lance Thomas, Ron Baker) probably shouldn’t make that pledge. They’re better off paying Kanter more next season then having the flexibility to move on once they can more easily open significant cap space.

The Knicks insist they’re serious about remaining patient after so many rushed/flubbed rebuilds. They can grow slowly around 22-year-old Kristaps Porzingis.

This will be a major test of that plan.