Remember over the summer, when the Turkish government revoked the passport of New York Knicks big man Enes Kanter? It was because Kanter is a follower of the Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, who is in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania. Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan — who has fundamentally dictatorial powers now, and where human rights abuses are rampant — blames Gulen for masterminding a failed 2016 coup attempt in Turkey, and used that as an excuse for a crackdown and consolidation of power.
One small part of that crackdown — Knicks games are not shown in Turkey because Kanter is on the team. That according to Kanter (who played last season in Oklahoma City), who spoke to Ian Begley of ESPN about it Saturday.
Enes Kanter says that there are no Knicks games shown on Turkish television, which he says is in response to his vocal public stance in opposition to Turkish President Recep Tayyip. “Last year they were showing all 29 games in Turkey but no (Oklahoma City Thunder) games because of all the politics, they were going crazy. So now, they are showing every other game (but) no Knicks,” Kanter said Friday. “Just because the president is crazy. It’s that crazy…. Last year, I saw all those people on social media they were saying we want to watch (Russell Westbrook) because they can’t watch because of me. Now, they want to watch Kristaps (Porzingis), all the other guys, they cannot watch just because of me.”
Kanter has said he wants to become an official United States citizen. Kanter is not going to stop speaking out on Turkish politics, even though it has led to the arrest of his father before.
Kanter is averaging 14.1 points and 10.5 rebounds per game as the Knicks starting center, shooting 63.6 percent. He’s always been a quality offensive player but has shown little interest in the defensive end of the floor, and that made him a playoff liability in OKC. For the Knicks, he has been their best option at the five (outside of Kristaps Porzingis) and seems to have found a home.
Knicks fans love him… except for the children who went trick-or-treating at his house on Halloween.
Jimmy Butler was in Los Angeles and enjoying his well-earned All-Star slot on Team Stephen.
Well, except for the actual playing basketball part. Butler did not set foot on the court during the All-Star Game at his own request.
“Rest,” Butler said when asked why he didn’t play. “I have to rest. I have to rest my body up. This Timberwolves season is very, very important to me. I’ve got to make sure I’m ready to roll when I get back there.”
Lou Williams, the Clippers’ guard who likely would have been near the front of the line for an open All-Star roster spot in the West (likely second in the queue behind Chris Paul), but instead took part in the Saturday Skills Competition then had Sunday off, trolled Butler for it on Twitter.
This seems more good natured than genuinely bitter.
Williams will roll with it, but his point’s a valid one — if you’re an All-Star, at least play a little and give the people what they want. Get out there for five minutes or whatever. LaMarcus Aldridge only played four minutes, no big deal.
If you’re not going to use the roster spot, give it up to someone who will.
Of returning to the Raptors, Vince Carter said, “It’ll happen one day.” It sounds as if the Kings would buy him out if he wants.
Will he end the season with Toronto?
Josh Lewenberg of TSN 1050:
After speaking with a few team sources, I can confirm that they’ve had internal dialogue and debate about the idea of bringing Vince Carter back. It’s something that they wanted to do over the summer. That’s why they made him an offer, something that I’ve reported in the past. And it’s also something that they’d be open to in the future, perhaps next year in some capacity. But they’ve decided now is not the right time. And I think the consensus seems to be there’s so much going on right now, and they want this season to be about this team, their accomplishments and their playoff push and not the sideshow that I think would come with a Vince Carter return.
The Raptors (41-16) are on pace for their best record ever. They’re excelling offensively and defensively. Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan are spearheading a more dynamic offense that spurs hope for more playoff success.
Toronto is probably correct to save the Carter reunion for another year – though it depends who else is available. That 15th roster spot could be useful. If Carter is the best player who’d sign, the Raptors should sign him and deal with the hoopla.
But it’s not clear whom they could get or whether they could even get Carter. He hasn’t sounded like someone who’d forgo guaranteed salary to play for the minimum.
Tiago Splitter was so effective in his role for the Spurs during their playoff run to the 2014 title – 19.1 PER, .239 win shares per 48 minutes, +7.5 box plus-minus. It gets forgotten, because he twice lost his starting job that postseason.
Limited by a late start in the NBA and injuries, Splitter’s prime was short and ill-timed. He was a traditional center just as those were going out of style.
But for moments in the right matchups, he provided a major boost to a championship team. That was the peak of a seven-year NBA career.
Tiago Splitter announced his retirement at the age of 33 in an interview with SporTV.
Splitter just couldn’t get healthy. He missed 150 games over the last three years with the Spurs, Hawks and 76ers.
Drafted No. 28 in 2007, Splitter remained overseas for a few years and built hype and intrigue. He signed with San Antonio and started alongside Tim Duncan for a couple years. The Spurs later dumped him on Atlanta to clear space for LaMarcus Aldridge – a sign of Splitter’s success. He earned about $47 million in his NBA career.
76ers guard J.J. Redick explained saying what sounded like a slur for Chinese people – he was tongue-tied. But he didn’t actually apologize, and that bothered many.
Now, he’s getting that part right.
Maybe Redick really did just stumble over his words. Based on the inflection, it certainly sounds possible.
Maybe he thought he was being funny then got caught.
He’d respond now the same way now either way. Maybe it’s just unfortunate he’s caught up in this. Maybe he’s using plausible deniability to get away with something.
I don’t know, but it’s good he apologized. People can apologize for accidents, and it usually helps make everyone feel better and move on.