Center Enes Kanter is growing increasingly frustrated at the Knicks after he did not play in Wednesday's game against the Houston Rockets hours after he said David Fizdale told him he would start.
"They told me this morning that I'm starting,'' Kanter said, according to the New York Post's Marc Berman. "Now I come to the game and I didn't even play. I'm trying to be a good teammate, but I want to play basketball. If you're going to play me here, play me. If not, just get me out of here."
Even though the 26-year-old Kanter hasn't explicitly asked for a trade out of New York despite his reduced playing time, the Knicks have shopped Kanter around the trade market.
Kanter said assistant coach Keith Smart told him hours before the game that Fizdale had changed his mind, indicating Kanter would instead come off the bench in the Knicks' 114-110 loss.
"What they're doing is pretty messed up," Kanter said. "I deserve way better. They didn't explain me anything. I'm just going to let my agent handle it. I love the Knicks, don't get me wrong. I love the crowd and MSG and have love for this city, but I want to play basketball. Either play me or just let me play some place."
Kanter previously expressed his displeasure in Fizdale prioritizing playing time to younger centers like Mitchell Robinson and Luke Kornet as opposed to him, something Fizdale defended by saying he wanted to help "grow those 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 on Monday. "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, who is in the final year of a four-year, $70 million deal, was expected to see more playing time after Kornet suffered a sprained ankle and bone bruise that will keep him out at least two weeks. Though Kanter has missed four of the Knicks' last five games, Wednesday's was the first one that was a DNP-coach's decision.
He did not play on Jan. 11 or Jan. 13 due to stomach issues from a cheat meal and missed New York's game against the Washington Wizards in London due to security concerns stemming from his battle with the Turkish government. He scored 11 points in 19 minutes in Monday's loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
"I want to play basketball," Kanter said on Monday. "I love it here. I love New York. I love the fans, but in the end, I want to play basketball."