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 Kanter’s Turkish passport was revoked in 2017, and an international warrant for his arrest was issued by Turkey.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.”