Enes Kanter signs max offer sheet with Blazers, Thunder will have three days to match

Photo by Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images

Oklahoma City big man and restricted free agent Enes Kanter, who was acquired by the Thunder in a trade deadline deal this past season, had not been courted by any teams during free agency, mostly due to the league-wide assumption that the Thunder would re-sign Kanter. 

Well the Portland Trail Blazers, who now wield a surplus of cap space due to the departure of four of their five starters from last season, crashed Oklahoma City’s party on Thursday by signing Kanter to a four-year, $70 million offer sheet. Oklahoma City will have three days to match Portland’s offer. 

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reports that Kanter’s offer sheet also includes a trade kicker, which further complicates Oklahoma City’s ability to match.

Many expect Oklahoma City to match, as it’s imperative for them to flank superstar Kevin Durant (who everyone knows is in a contract year) with enough talent to finally bust through the title window that has been ajar since 2011. As for Portland, I don’t understand their thinking behind extending Kanter this mammoth offer sheet.

Kanter is solid player with a strong offensive repertoire. He averaged 18.7 points and 11 rebounds per game in 26 appearances with the Thunder, and his proficiency out of the pick and roll/pop made him a favorite target of Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook.

But to sign him to a max offer sheet is a little strange, especially for Portland who have a glut of young bigs which include the likes of Ed Davis, Noah Vonleh, Mason Plumlee and Meyers Leonard. Their collaborative efforts on the court could provide Portland with more than Kanter could, especially on the defensive end where he’s notorious for being a huge liability.  Portland has to realize that signing Kanter to a max deal is not the brainiest of investments, especially when there’s a much cheaper alternative right in front of you. 

If Oklahoma City does decided to match the offer sheet and retain Kanter, The hefty price-tag may conjure up some frustration amongst Thunder fans, as his sizable new deal would force them to make luxury tax payments, something OKC management was adamant about avoiding when they traded away current Houston Rockets star James Harden. Overpaying for a player is a harsh reality of restricted free agency, but are the Thunder willing to pay this much? The next 72 hours should be fairly interesting.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here