Chicago Bulls: Enes Kanter bestows perfect frontcourt fit

(Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
(Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

A young rising frontcourt for the Chicago Bulls could get the final piece to the puzzle for the upcoming season by getting Enes Kanter in free agency.

The rumor mill for free agency around the NBA will start becoming a reality for the Chicago Bulls on the evening of June 30. A key part of that rumor mill for the Bulls recently was the idea that former Portland Trail Blazers veteran forward Enes Kanter has interest coming his way from this front office.

Landing former Arkansas Razorbacks center Daniel Gafford in the second round of the 2019 NBA Draft slightly watered down the need for the Bulls to upgrade the frontcourt depth in free agency. But it does look like the Bulls frontcourt rotation is still at least one big man away from rounding it all out.

The mix of reactions that the news that the Bulls were going after Kanter got on social media was differentiating. Bulls fans tend to get the idea that the biggest need for this team to fill this summer is at point guard. But with former North Carolina Tar Heels point guard Coby White in the mix now, that need faded quite a bit.

The rumor that Kanter is drawing interest from the Bulls originally came from New York Knicks writer with The Athletic Mike Vorkunov, on his Twitter timeline. That Twitter post also mentioned the Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Lakers, and the Trail Blazers as teams that were interested in landing Kanter.

It does seem like a return to Portland is still in the cards for Kanter. He helped Portland put together a good run in the playoffs in the Western Conference before getting swept in the Conference Finals by the Golden State Warriors. An injury to starting Blazers big man Jusuf Nurkic opened the door to more playing time and a bigger role for Kanter and he thrived in the spotlight.

Throughout the 2018-19 campaign with the Knicks and Blazers in general, Kanter registered a sparkling 22.3 player efficiency rating and 5.4 win shares. He also averaged 13.7 points per game, 9.8 rebounds, and 1.7 assists. In his 23 games played with the Blazers last season, Kanter posted a spectacular 122 offensive rating.

While Kanter does have a lot of defensive limitations, he would be a great solution for depth in the frontcourt rotation that could help develop the offensive skill sets for center Wendell Carter Jr. and power forward Lauri Markkanen. A player like Markkanen that is looking for more offensive consistency with the ball in his hands could greatly benefit from Kanter’s presence. Carter Jr. just needs more work on his offensive arsenal all-around.

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A huge potential question for John Paxson and Gar Forman with the Chicago Bulls in the pursuit of Kanter would be how big his price tag is. The last full contract for Kanter with the Knicks gave him a base salary of around $18 million. If he is willing to take a shorter term deal with the Bulls for around $12-$15 million, he could be very well worth the deal.