Friday, May 25, 2018
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Cavs give Turkish big man 2nd look

Ex-Kentucky recruit possible pick in draft


Enes Kanter, a 6-foot-11 center from Turkey, works out with the Minnesota Timberwolves. Kanter could be one of the top picks in the NBA draft.


CLEVELAND — The agent for Turkish center Enes Kanter doesn’t think the Cleveland Cavaliers have decided who they’ll take with the No. 1 overall pick in the NBA draft.

Monday, Kanter had his second private workout with the Cavaliers, who own the Nos. 1 and 4 overall picks in Thursday’s draft.

Agent Max Ergul said the 6-foot-11 Kanter, who has raw skills but imposing, ready-for-the-pros size, met with Cavs owner Dan Gilbert.

“Enes told me he liked it,” said Ergul, who believes the club is still weighing its options. “I have no prediction with what they are going to do, and I think they are going to wait and take it down to the very last moment. And why should they announce it now? That would ruin the surprise.”

The Cavs have been extremely guarded in their plans for this draft, which they hope can speed their rebuilding in the aftermath of LeBron James’ departure and a 63-loss season.

Cleveland has been intentionally silent because the club wants to keep its options open and potentially raise the interest in a player to make a trade.

In addition to its first-round picks, the Cavs have two selections in the second round (Nos. 32 and 54) and own a $14.5 million trade exception they got in a sign-and-trade with Miami last summer in the deal for James.

Duke point guard Kyrie Irving has been Cleveland’s expected choice at No. 1, and the Cavs were the only team the 6-foot-4 player worked out for this spring. Irving played in only 11 games as a freshman for the Blue Devils because of a foot injury he says has healed completely.

Also yesterday, the Cavs hosted Kentucky point guard Brandon Knight, who averaged 17.3 points and 4.2 assists last season. His jumper with five seconds remaining led the Wildcats past top-ranked Ohio State in the Sweet 16 of March’s NCAA Tournament. He could be an option for the Cavs if they take Kanter or Arizona forward Derrick Williams instead of Irving at No. 1, but that seems unlikely.

Kanter is somewhat of a mystery to most NBA fans. He hasn’t played basketball in nearly a year after being ruled ineligible at Kentucky for receiving improper benefits from a Turkish club team. In the past few weeks he has worked out for several teams, showing off his solid post moves and a better-than-average perimeter game.

Last week, the 19-year-old visited the Minnesota Timberwolves, who have the No. 2 pick in the draft.

“I want him to go a team where he’s going to be most used,” said Ergul. “He wants to go to a team that he can make a playoff contender, and he wants to be the face of the city where he plays.”

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