The Idaho Statesman (Sunday) - - SPORTS -

Knicks cen­ter Kan­ter skip­ping trip to London

New York cen­ter Enes Kan­ter will not travel to London for the Knicks’ up­com­ing in­ter­na­tional game be­cause he be­lieves he could be as­sas­si­nated for his opposition to Turk­ish Pres­i­dent Re­cep Tayyip Er­do­gan.

Kan­ter an­nounced his plan Fri­day night af­ter a 119-112 win over the Lak­ers. The Knicks later said Kan­ter also won’t make the trip be­cause of a visa is­sue.

New York will face Washington at The O2 arena in London on Jan. 17. He says he can’t travel any­where ex­cept the U.S. and Canada be­cause “there’s a chance I could get killed out there.”

“Sadly, I’m not go­ing be­cause of that freak­ing lu­natic, the Turk­ish pres­i­dent,” Kan­ter said.

Kan­ter has been a vo­cal critic of Er­do­gan for years, once re­fer­ring to him as “the Hitler of our cen­tury.” Kan­ter’s Turk­ish passport was re­voked in 2017, and an in­ter­na­tional war­rant for his ar­rest was is­sued by Turkey. Kan­ter is a fol­lower of a U.s.-based Turk­ish cleric ac­cused by Turkey’s gov­ern­ment of mas­ter­mind­ing a failed mil­i­tary coup in 2016. Bet­ter days? The Knicks, mean­while, are hop­ing Fri­day’s re­silient per­for­mance in Los An­ge­les marks a turn­ing point in their try­ing sea­son.

The Lak­ers? They just hope Lebron James feels bet­ter very soon.

Tim Har­d­away Jr. scored 22 points as the Knicks snapped an eightgame los­ing streak. The Lak­ers dropped to 1-4 with­out James, side­lined for at least an­other week with a left groin strain. Los An­ge­les also played with­out sec­ond-lead­ing scorer Kyle Kuzma, who has a bruised back.

The Knicks blew an early 17-point lead be­fore ral­ly­ing from a six-point deficit in the fourth quar­ter. Kan­ter scored eight of his 16 points down the stretch.

“I think this is a con­fi­dence-booster,” said Trey Burke, who added 16 points in his most ex­ten­sive play­ing time in 21⁄2 weeks. “We’ve been in a lot of games, but it doesn’t mat­ter when you don’t pull it out.”

No dis­re­spect: Philadel­phia coach Brett Brown de­nied a re­port that Jimmy But­ler was dis­re­spect­ful while ques­tion­ing his role in the 76ers of­fense.

A re­port pub­lished on Fri­day said that But­ler re­cently chal­lenged Brown in a dis­re­spect­ful way and wants to be uti­lized dif­fer­ently in the coach’s of­fen­sive scheme.

Brown dis­missed the re­port be­fore Satur­day’s game against the Dal­las Mav­er­icks.

“I didn’t feel like any of that crossed the line,” Brown said. “He’s vo­cal. He’s all in and he has opin­ions, but it’s in­sti­gated by me. None of this should sur­prise any­body. He’s got opin­ions. He wants to be heard. And he should be heard.”

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