Celtics sign Enes Kanter

After Al Horford’s departure to Philadelphia, Boston had rebounded by acquiring Kanter.

Enes Kanter in 2019.
Enes Kanter agreed on a two-year, $10 million deal with the Celtics, who were looking to fill a void in their frontcourt after the departure of Al Horford to Philadelphia. –Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

The Celtics took a big step toward fortifying their frontcourt on Monday by agreeing to a two-year, $10 million deal with free agent Enes Kanter, a league source confirmed. The second year of the contract will be a player option.

Last season, Kanter averaged 13.7 points and 9.8 rebounds while splitting the season between the Knicks and the Blazers.

Boston struck quickly by filling the void created by Kyrie Irving’s departure by agreeing to sign another All-Star point guard in Kemba Walker. But the holes created in the frontcourt had perhaps become even more glaring.

On draft night, Boston traded center Aron Baynes to the Suns, and then at the start of free agency on Sunday forward Al Horford agreed to a four-year, $109 million deal with the 76ers. And one by one, the top options on the free agent were being gobbled up.

Advertisement

But the Celtics ultimately used their room mid-level exception to acquire Kanter, a 6-foot-11-inch, 250-pound center who has played for the Jazz, Thunder, Knicks and Blazers over his eight NBA seasons. Kanter, 27, is an elite rebounder and a strong finisher at the rim, although he is not known as a powerful defender.

Still, he helped guide Portland to the Western Conference finals last season after Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic was lost for the season with a leg injury. For now, Kanter should slide into the starting center role, with Robert Williams and potentially Daniel Theis, who is a restricted free agent, serving as his backup.