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Enes Kanter: The Prodigal Sun -- The Downbeat #1552

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Enes Kanter to the Suns?

Is the Jazz front court of the future or soon to be of the past?
Is the Jazz front court of the future or soon to be of the past?
Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

Rudy Gobert is no longer a secret to only Utah.  He has been getting his just reward from national media because of his surprisingly (not to us) good play in the Rising Stars game.  Even better the praise for Rudy also comes from the leader of the team Gordon Hayward.

One of the biggest factors in our improvement on defense is Rudy. He has been getting more playing time, and he's coming into his own on the defensive end.

It starts with his height, which is something he's blessed with and you can't teach. His standing reach is something crazy like 9'7″. There's nobody in the league that can match that physically. But it's been really impressive how rapidly he's improved. It seems like he has that knack on defense. I can remember, even in the limited minutes that he got last season, he always seemed to come in and get a pretty nice block, or he'd come over and provide help on the weak side and make things really difficult. Naturally, he has pretty good defensive instincts. Those will get even better over time.

via Gordon Hayward of gordonhayward20.com

One of the reasons the Enes Kanter trade demand story is not a media nightmare for Utah is Rudy.  Rudy's surprisingly good play has allowed the Jazz to keep leverage on their side.  Kanter's value has dropped because of his public demands and a weak market for non rim protecting big men in the NBA.  Rudy Gobert's play has also given GMs a defense-on/defense-off look at Enes Kanter.  Enes Kanter could very well improve in this league on the defensive side but not many GMs are jumping at the chance to throw serious assets at Kanter while he is still in this raw state.

Speaking of Enes Kanter here's the rumor mill on him so far.

The Celtics are trying to get Enes Kanter or DeMarcus Cousins.

Enes Kanter: The Jazz' young big man has been losing playing time to Rudy Gobert, who'll come much cheaper. Kanter is a free agent and the Jazz has locked up Gordon Hayward, Alec Burks and Derrick Favors. He said he'd like to be traded. The Celtics have been most rumored chasing big men and the Bucks are said to be interested as well. Another Celtics' big man rumor floating around during All-Star weekend has been their pursuit of All-Star DeMarcus Cousins. There is no indication he's available from the team, but the speculation has been he and George Karl won't work together and Karl wants to play faster without a low post center. So Boston is rumored to give it a try. Hey, who thought they would get Kevin Garnett? The Kings have been offering Jason Thompson around for most of the last two seasons and rarely used rookie Nik Stauskas. But that could change with Karl.

via Sam Smith of chicagobulls.com

Tony Jones of the Salt Lake Tribune doesn't believe Enes Kanter is going anywhere.

Enes Kanter and his agent very publicly asked the Jazz last week to trade the young center by Thursday's NBA trade deadline.

However, the Jazz are unlikely to bend to Kanter's demand.

The Salt Lake Tribune has learned, via NBA sources, that while the team will listen to offers, Kanter is still valued highly by the franchise and very much in its long-term plans.

via Tony Jones of the Salt Lake Tribune

We all see that scenario playing out.  The Jazz don't have to trade him if they don't want to.  He's a restricted free agent.  He's still a developing project.  He most likely is going to be the third big in what is going to be a very potent big man 3 of Favors, Gobert, and himself.  While Kanter might not be happy about the current status of not starting, once the guard play and additional prospects from the draft start coming in I think he'll appreciate winning a lot more than any starting position.

So as we talked about the market just isn't there for Utah.  A deal for Goran Dragic is a possibility but it would require the Jazz to bank on retaining a non-restricted free agent as Zach Lowe of Grantland points out.

Finding a workable deal for Kanter is tough. Boston already has stretchy bigs who struggle with rim protection. The Kings don't need another ball-dominant post guy next to Boogie. Kanter doesn't fit Indy's defense-first culture, and while Portland needs healthy bigs, it'd be reluctant to jeopardize its chemistry. The ever-active Hornets could view Kanter as an heir apparent to Al Jefferson, but they're in a playoff chase, and Utah would throw the phone on the floor at the mere mention of Lance Stephenson. A Dragic-Kanter swap makes some theoretical sense given the roster needs of each team, but Utah is not the sort of market that can bank on retaining unrestricted free agents. The Lakers are intriguing but could chase Kanter in restricted free agency - a game the Lakers usually sit out.

via Zach Lowe of Grantland

Hit up the link to read more of what Zach Lowe had to say about Kanter.  I promise.  It's worth it.

It wouldn't be a trade-centric downbeat without one last bit of rumor news.  Marc Stein says that Toronto would be a good fit for Enes Kanter.  I would love Kanter to go to Toronto just to hear all the great puns The Starters from NBAtv could come up with for him.

The bigger problem is finding a market for Kanter, with few teams in need of a big man who doesn't protect the rim. As with Bass, Toronto might be the best fit. Kanter would be an upgrade over Tyler Hansbrough off the bench. That might be enough to get the Raptors to part with a pick.

via Marc Stein of ESPN.com ($)

UPDATE: