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Every player wants to step up during a contract year (a year when they will or at least might be a free agent after the season). But it’s hard to do that while receiving limited minutes. Such is the situation for many veterans on rebuilding teams that are more focused on the development of rookies and other young players than they are about the immediate dividends that may come from giving veterans more minutes.

Speaking of which, here’s New York Newsday discussing the Knicks and veteran center Enes Kanter, who received 26 minutes of court time three games ago, 22 minutes two games ago, and just 15 minutes on Friday:

When Knicks coach David Fizdale put all three of his rookies in the starting lineup Friday he made a statement. And then a stronger one when, with the game on the line, he inserted all three with the game on the line, admitting he wanted to test the trio under fire.

But the bigger test might be how Fizdale can manage the veterans on the roster. Enes Kanter, left on the bench as the New Orleans Pelicans dominated the Knicks’ young frontcourt that night to turn the game, left the locker room quickly with no comment night, then went, as he often does to social media. He tweeted out just a line of periods and asked about it Sunday morning, he didn’t reveal the meaning but said with a smile, “It’s only going to grow bigger.”

Kanter may be the most pressing case, a player who has established himself as much of a star as there is on this lottery-bound development project. He is a free agent at season’s end after opting in to the final season of his contract over the summer, and while his minutes and numbers have for the most part remained steady, he was pulled from the starting lineup after five games in favor of Mitchell Robinson. And on nights like Friday when he played just 15 minutes, there was clear frustration.

It would not be surprising to see Kanter receive more minutes again, but the reality is his future may very well be elsewhere so unless they market him in order to trade him, the team’s focus may likely remain on their youth.