The Celtics added a starting big man to their rotation on Monday afternoon, agreeing to terms with 27-year-old center Enes Kanter on a two-year contract worth $10 million, according to a league source. Shams Charania of Stadium was first to report the news.
The 6-foot-11 center will sign for the room-level exception ($4.7 million starting salary) and will have a player option for the second year of his deal. Kanter averaged 13.7 points and 9.8 rebounds per game last season in 67 contests split between the New York Knicks and Portland Trail Blazers.
This was a calculated gamble by the front office that they would be able to find a starting caliber big on the open market with limited means once Aron Baynes was dealt away last month to open up $5.4 million in cap room. Kanter was a top target for the Celtics on that front, given that he is the prime of his career at age 27. He won't be able to replace Al Horford's outside shooting, but he is a strong rim roller, has a decent midrange jumpshot (40 percent) and is one of the best rebounders in the game. Offensive rebounding has never been a strength of Boston in recent years but Kanter will open the door in that area while cleaning up the defensive glass as well for what should be an undersized Celtics frontline beside him.