GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- Knicks center Enes Kanter says he's leaning toward opting out of his $18.6 million player option for the 2018-19 season to seek a longer-term deal with the Knicks.
"You could say that, yes," Kanter said Thursday at the Knicks facility after coach Jeff Hornacek was fired. "I'm not saying I'm in or out 100 percent. I'm just saying I want to stay here long term."
Kanter, who arrived before training camp in the Carmelo Anthony trade with Oklahoma City, will huddle with his new agent Mark Bartelstein soon to discuss his options.
"That's the decision of my agent, we're going to talk after we're done here," said Kanter, who averaged 14.1 points and 11.0 rebounds this past season. "But I want to stay here long term."
Bartelstein, who was not present when Kanter spoke, said that nothing had been decided as of yet.
"All the speculation with Enes is premature," Bartelstein said by phone. "There's a ton of due diligence that has to be done. The season just ended [Wednesday] night. We're not leaning or thinking one way or the other right now. We'll go through that process over the next couple of months."
The Knicks have their own decisions to make.
Do they let Kanter, a very popular player with the fans and media, walk away if he opts out? How does Kristaps Porzingis' own contract situation figure in to other decisions? Do they opt to go with Kyle O'Quinn ($4.2M option) and/or Luke Kornet as their backup center?
The Knicks are not exactly loaded with a ton of talented players, though, and in Kanter they at least know they have a reliable, sturdy center who's not afraid to mix it up with LeBron James if needed. Kanter said he didn't discuss a long-term deal with Knicks President Steve Mills and GM Scott Perry during the season because he felt it would've been "selfish."
He reiterated again he wants to retire a Knick.
"I told you from Day One, I want to be here," he said. "I want to make New York my home. Obviously, all the fans, all the organization, all the people around are really good guys. Getting traded is always awkward, but this organization from Day One, they opened their arms. They have me a really warm welcome and I think I told everybody I want to retire a Knick.
As for Hornacek's firing, he said: "I think he did a really good job. I know him since first day when I got drafted by Utah Jazz."