Knicks center Enes Kanter expressed his displeasure with being demoted in the playing rotation with head coach David Fizdale wanting to prioritize playing time for younger players.
"We're competitors, and I want to go out there and play basketball, and I understand now the situation with the Knicks," Kanter said after playing just 19 minutes in Monday's 127-109 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder. "It's tough because they're trying to give the young guys a lot of minutes and get them better, but it's not like I'm 32, 33 years old. I'm 26 years old, and I want to go out there and compete and play basketball."
Kanter came off the bench and scored 11 points, but 23-year-old Luke Kornet earned the start. Fizdale said he plans to give more time to younger players like rookie Mitchell Robinson and Kornet, who left the game with an ankle injury, in an effort to evaluate New York's players heading into next season.
"Just being a young group of guys, you have to learn," guard Tim Hardaway Jr. said, "and understand that we got to take advantage of these games -- us being young -- and be more energetic out there."
Fizdale said he spoke with Kanter to discuss how he would align with Fizdale's plan to give time to younger players now that Robinson returned from an ankle injury.
"I just had an open and honest conversation ... I'm going to try my best to share those minutes," Fizdale said, "but I do have a priority to grow those players."
Kanter, in whom other teams have expressed interest over the past few weeks, has not requested a trade, but said he wants to focus on playing basketball and let his agent and the Knicks' front office determine a plan.
"I want to play basketball," said Kanter, who has averaged 14.4 points and 11 rebounds this season. "I love it here. I love New York. I love the fans, but in the end, I want to play basketball."
Kanter is in the final year of a four-year, $70 million deal and earning $18.6 million this season. He will hit free agency in the summer,