Trail Blazers

Enes Kanter is ready to 'run it back' with Trail Blazers

Trail Blazers

Home, sweet home.

That was the initial tweet from Trail Blazers center Enes Kanter once the news came out that he had been traded back to Portland.

Download and subscribe to the Talkin' Blazers Podcast

After playing just one season with the Boston Celtics while averaging 8.1 points and 7.4 rebounds in 16.9 minutes per game, Kanter shared his excitement Tuesday.

I’m excited to be here. I think it’s going to be an amazing season. It feels like home here.

Enes Kanter

As Kanter heads into his 10th year in the league, he discussed how the Trail Blazers have great team chemistry and that's one of the key reasons why he thinks they've had so much success.

“I can’t say enough about how good of a team and friend the Blazers are,” Kanter explained as he also mentioned how valuable of a teammate and leader Damian Lillard has been. 

And just so Trail Blazers fans know, it’s time to let bygones be bygones.

 

There may have been some free agency drama last summer with Kanter saying he only had six minutes to make a decision with Portland, but that was disputed by Lillard.

Yet the two have seemingly put that in the past and Kanter and Lillard are looking forward.

The moment I got traded, Dame texted me and said, ‘hey, this year we doing this. We going out there and we winning a championship.’  

Enes Kanter

Lillard has always been the first teammate to get a hold of Kanter whenever he makes his way to PDX.

The two developed a great working relationship both on and off the court two years ago and now it’s time to bring that back.

Every time I either sign with the Blazers or I [was] traded to the Blazers, he is the first guy to text me and say, ‘let’s do this.’ That shows a lot. That shows what kind of a leader he is. That shows what kind of teammate he is, friend he is.

Enes Kanter on Damian Lillard

Or really, we should say, it’s time to run it back with Lillard.

I think we’re just going to run it back and do what we do best and go out there and compete.

When Kanter was waived by the New York Knicks and then quickly picked up by the Trail Blazers in mid-Feb. of 2019, the original plan with the Blazers was to add depth and have a full squad with Kanter as Jusuf Nurkic’s backup.

But as we all remember, Nurkic suffered a broken leg a little over a month after Kanter had signed with Portland.

Kanter, like many others, believes the postseason could’ve gone a lot different with the Bosnian Beast still healthy and they could've made it to the NBA Finals.

“I feel like two years ago if we didn’t lose Nurk we could’ve won a championship,” Kanter explained. “Nurk brings so much to the table… I always say it to the people around me – I see him as an All-Star.”

But now as the Blazers look forward -- it’s time for Nurk and Kanter to body up opponents.

There’s no doubt that having one or the other on the floor means Portland will be a force.

“I think this season, we’ve got [Nurk], we got all the offseason signings… I think we have a very special, talented team,” Kanter added.

 

As for bringing in Robert Covington, Derrick Jones Jr. and Harry Giles, while also re-signing Carmelo Anthony and Rodney Hood, Kanter believes the Trail Blazers truly won the offseason.

Portland had the best offseason… Rodney is coming back and we’ve got all the big men now, I feel like that gives us so much. First off, we’re going to be an amazing physical team and we’re just gonna go out there and bruise people… I think we’re just going to try and bruise every team if they want to go small.

With that, where is Trail Blazers president of basketball operations Neil Olshey’s trophy?

Kanter believes that Olshey has earned some offseason hardware.

“I think he deserves a trophy.”

Now the question is: Will winning the offseason turn into an end of the season trophy? 

It's time to run it back.