Jazz coach Snyder says he and Kanter are “in a good place”
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) Utah Jazz coach Quin Snyder said there are no ill feelings toward Enes Kanter after the Turkish center told reporters last week he wanted to be traded.
The first-year coach, however, did not give any major clues as to what would happen before Thursday’s 3 p.m. Eastern trade deadline.
Snyder said the two spoke before the team held its first practice after the All-Star break Wednesday, and they’re ”in a good place.”
”As far as I’m concerned, I’ve enjoyed coaching Enes the whole time I’ve been here,” Snyder said. ”I think I can speak for (general manager) Dennis (Lindsey) and everybody, we like the group we have. There’s no frustrations, really, about anything except us improving.
”I know the general situation. As far as any individual comments, that’s something I’m not focused on.”
Kanter told the Salt Lake Tribune he would like to be traded before Thursday’s deadline. His minutes have fluctuated in a frontcourt rotation with Rudy Gobert, Derrick Favors and Trevor Booker. The comments were made following an 87-82 loss in which Kanter left the game with an eye injury. He never re-entered the game, but Kanter said he was fine to do so. He is averaging 13.8 points, 7.8 rebounds and 27.1 minutes this season.
Kanter did not speak with the media Wednesday and agent Max Ergul did not return messages left by The Associated Press.
”We all want everything to be perfect, and that’s not the case with me, with Enes, Derrick, Gordon (Hayward),” Snyder said. ”I like where we are. I like Enes. I think Enes is one of the guys that over the course of the first half of the year has really, really improved. I’d like to see that continue.
”There’s so many things in life that can feel personal. It’s hard to detach sometimes. In my mind, I always like to err on the side of over-communication with all of our guys. It’s no secret we feel we’ve got four guys in the interior that have all played really well consistently. Some of them spectacularly at times. It’s a good situation we have.”
Hayward called the situation ”naturally distracting” because there was no way to avoid reading or hearing the comments and trade rumors. He said Kanter is a ”happy-go-lucky guy” around teammates and they didn’t discuss the scenario.
”We’re all professionals here. Guys are going to make their own decisions and choices,” Hayward said. ”He’s my teammate and I’ve enjoyed the time that I’ve had with him. If he continues to be with the Jazz, I’ll love it, too. Whatever happens, happens. It’s a business.
”It’s a competitive business and guys’ careers are on the line and (they’re) trying to make money for your family and for the future, your kids and their kids. You get emotional, I think. Sometimes it’s an easy thing to do.”
Kanter is scheduled to be a restricted free agent after the season. The Jazz would be able to match any offer sheet he signs, if there’s no trade.
Point guard Trey Burke said the fourth-year center is well-liked in the locker room and thinks emotions may have played a factor in the comments. Burke has been in his own minute-sharing situation with rookie Dante Exum, who took Burke’s spot in the starting lineup 11 games before the All-Star break.
”We understand that he’s going (through) some ups and downs,” Burke said. ”We’re all human beings. We all let the emotions get the best of us at times. So we understand.
”At the same time, if he’s still here, which we hope he is, we’re definitely going to treat him the same way. He’s still going to be a player that’s going to have a significant role on this team.”