Celtics agree to send Enes Kanter to Trail Blazers in three-team deal also involving Grizzlies, per report

Free agency doesn’t open for another few hours, but the Boston Celtics, Portland Trail Blazers and Memphis Grizzlies are making sure we have some moves to talk about in the meantime. Early on Friday afternoon, they agreed to a three-team deal that will send Enes Kanter to the Trail Blazers, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski

In addition, the Trail Blazers will send Mario Hezonja to the Grizzlies, who also get the 30th overall pick in the 2020 Draft, Desmond Bane. The Celtics, meanwhile, will get Kanter off their books, and also receive a future draft pick from the Grizzlies, per Wojnarowski. 

Kanter’s lone season in Boston was not particularly memorable. He averaged 8.1 points and 7.6 rebounds per game off the bench and only appeared in 11 playoff games during the team’s run to the Eastern Conference finals. Prior to the trade, he picked up his $5 million player option for next season, though as we know now that was just a precursor to this trade. 

He’ll now return to Portland, where he spent the second half of the 2018-19 season, and played a big role in the Blazers’ journey to the conference finals. The Blazers were decimated by injuries last season, especially in the frontcourt, and Kanter will provide some much needed depth. His defensive liabilities are well known, but he’s always been able to score inside, and should be a useful player for Portland — at least over the course of the regular season. 

As for the Grizzlies, Mario Hezonja is what he is at this point. He’ll provide some extra wing depth, but he doesn’t figure to play a major role for them next season. The real prize for them in this move is Bane. An elite shooter out of TCU, Bane was largely seen as a steal at the 30th pick, and should be able to provide an immediate boost to a Memphis team that finished 23rd in the league in 3-point shooting last season. 

Boston will technically get a future pick from the Grizzlies, but the main concern for them here was finding another team to take on Kanter’s money. They did so, but it cost them Bane, who some believe they should have selected in the draft instead of Oregon guard Payton Pritchard, whom they took with the No. 26 pick.  


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