Less than an hour before the Boston Celtics trotted out Enes Kanter for his introductory press conference Wednesday, the veteran big man was busy with paperwork.
It was important paperwork after all, as Kanter signed his contract, which is a reported two-year, $10 million deal, to becomes the newest member of the C’s. It is Kanter’s fifth different organization he has played for since he joined the NBA in 2011.
“This is the first step to a championship,” said Kanter on a video post from the team’s twitter account of him signing his contract. “Thank you for your amazing support. I’m very excited about it, and you know what, let’s do it together.”
With multiple suitors, it was a phone call from the C’s other prize free agency pick up in Kemba Walker that helped lure Kanter to Boston.
“(Walker) didn’t call me on his phone. He called me on Danny (Ainge’s) phone,” Kanter said. “I answered the phone and it was a deep voice, and I was like, ‘Who is this?’ That’s Kemba, man, (and he said), ‘We want you to be here.’ That made me very excited and feel special. … I talked to my manager and I was like, ‘This is the place I want to play for.’”
Kanter brings with him a big personality and a love of social media. Kanter was goofing around many times as he met the Boston media for the first time and he should keep the C’s loose when adversity hits during the season.
“Every team needs one guy like that,” Kanter said. “It’s definitely important to have character, personality. This team already has it, but I’m just going to add a little more.”
Kanter also let his personality shine in the opening minutes of the press conference when he was asked about why he chose to wear No. 11, the same number Kyrie Irving wore during his time with the C’s.
Kanter, who wore No. 11 while he was with the Thunder, poked fun at Irving in his response, uttering the same line the guard used in a Nike commercial with his dad about Irving trying to have his number retired one day by the Celtics.
“I want to be the reason that no one else will,” said Kanter, who couldn’t hold back a big smile and laugh while answering the question.
On the floor, the 6-foot-11, 250-pound center averaged 13.7 points and 9.8 rebounds per game last season while playing for the Knicks and Trail Blazers. With the departure of Al Horford and the C’s trading Aron Baynes, Boston is very thin at the center spot and will look for Kanter to bolster the unit.
Kanter’s inside presence on both ends of the floor will be vital, but offensively, he is trying to stretch his game out to beyond the 3-point line to go along with his ability to score around the basket. Kanter took just 34 3-point attempts a season ago, making 29.4% of those shots.
Celtics coach Brad Stevens, who encourages nearly every player on the roster to shoot the deep ball, said he likes what he sees out of Kanter’s long-range shot, which has given Kanter confidence moving forward as he tries to bring a different element to his game in his first season with the C’s.
“The league is changing and you’ve got to change with the league,” Kanter said. “The back to the basket players, you don’t see a lot anymore. This summer, my plan was to add (the 3-point shot) to my game. It’s very important to stretch the floor.”