Free-agent basketball player and newfound right-wing “free speech” martyr Enes Kanter Freedom begged edgelord billionaire Elon Musk to buy the NBA on Thursday, calling it “my dream” as Musk could potentially force a franchise to bring him back to the league.
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Fox News co-anchor Gillian Turner asked Freedom whether he felt he had a place in the NBA in the future or if that door was closed. “That’s my goal,” he replied. “I’m 29 years old, but they are pushing me to retire at the age of 29 because I speak out, and whenever I speak out it hurts their business, hurts their money and that shows one more time they care more about money and business than, you know, what players are standing for, and that is the one thing that kills me inside.”
Enes Kanter Freedom: I was in Portland last year and I averaged a double-double and we went to the playoffs. I was a starter. And they come and tell me after a year that I forgot how to play basketball? When I started talking about what’s happening in China, they stopped showing the Celtics on Chinese TV. This cost the NBA money. The NBA says that the league stands by our side when it comes to freedom of speech. I don’t believe it. They stand on our side as long what we say helps the league’s pockets, otherwise they’ll do whatever they can to finish you. I’m saying that because they are trying to retire me at 29. However, I know that I can play 6-7 years more because I love basketball, I’m healthy and I believe that people can see that I deserve to be in the NBA.
Enes Kanter Freedom: My first goal is to play in the NBA and I want to be there. I grew up watching Panathinaikos, Olympiacos, and other teams and my brother was playing in Greece for Kolossos Rhodes last year and he was telling me how nice it is there. Before anything else, I’d like to meet Greek Prime Minister Konstantinos Mitsotakis. I’d like to shake his hand and thank him for accepting refugees from Turkey. It’s an important step of the friendship between Greece and Turkey. Then I’d like to talk to him regarding the possibility of coming to a team like Panathinaikos and building a friendship between the two countries. If I play on a Greek team it won’t be just for basketball. I want to build a bridge between these people. We are not far from each other: We eat the same food and our cultures are very similar.
The Celtics traded him in February to the Rockets — who immediately released him, leaving him looking for a new NBA team. “I averaged double-double last year and people know I can still go out there and play,” he said, citing his statistics. “I’m 29 and I plan to play another six or seven years in the league because my body feels healthy and I love basketball. “I do believe that yes, they are punishing me in a way, and making sure every other athlete sees what I am going through so they won’t talk about the issues that are happening in China.”
“I don’t want to retire at the age of 29,” Freedom said. “Sometimes,” he added, “sacrifice is a very important word, so there are bigger things.”
Current NBA free agent and former WWE 24/7 Champion Enes Kanter Freedom says he has an offer on the table to begin his wrestling career but didn’t say where from. The 6’10” basketball player is currently focused on his NBA career, however. He was waived by the Houston Rockets last month.
“I already have an offer. I’m just trying to figure out what is going to happen with this basketball thing,” Kanter responded when asked about a possible in-ring career. “Obviously, I’m 29 and I want to play another like seven years in this league. I’m just going to figure out my basketball career first and then see what’s going to happen but I already have an offer, it’s just I’m not taking it right now. I love basketball, I don’t want to quit basketball.”
David Weigel: Enes Freedom tells me that he’s not going to speak at CPAC, as previously announced. “I need to figure out this NBA stuff first,” he says. “So I won’t be going to CPAC now.”
Via a statement to OPEN TV’s ‘Open Sport’, Freedom confirmed that he plans on visiting Greece and meeting with Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis to discuss the Turkish refugees’ pushbacks in the Aegean, while he is open to continuing his career with a Greek club. “Now that I have my American passport, I intend to visit Greece and meet with the prime minister, to discuss the pushbacks of Turkish refugees”, stated Freedom. “Depending on how our conversation goes, I will talk to him about the possibility of playing professionally in Greece”.
Said another team’s GM, “I don’t know if anyone else signs him. Maybe not. I think from a basketball standpoint, it’s really questionable. I’m not sure if any of the other stuff will even come into play. I don’t think he won’t get a job because of anything he’s said or done. I think he just doesn’t guard, and the game is changing. He plays a lot older than he really is.”
Freedom now seems to be highlighting the uncertainty over whether he will get another NBA job by the fact he has been outspoken on a number of social issues. He has been retweeting comments from conservative legislators who argue he is being punished for his stances against the government in China. “I think people agree with almost of all of the positions he’s taken,” said one league exec. “I think this just comes down to basketball. “Ime (Udoka) wants to switch everything on defense, which made it strange that Brad (Stevens) signed Enes. Switching is what he can’t do.”
Alykhan Bijani: The #Rockets have waived center Enes Freedom.
Adrian Wojnarowski: The Rockets are waiving Enes Freedom, source tells ESPN.
Brian Robb: Celtics announce they have signed Enes Kanter.
Adam Himmelsbach: According to a league source, Kanter’s deal is for 1 year, $2.7 million.
Jared Weiss: Celtics and Enes Kanter are working out a deal for likely a portion of the MLE, league sources tell The Athletic. Salary still being figured out as team settles its cap situation.
Shams Charania: Free agent center Enes Kanter has agreed to a one-year deal with the Boston Celtics, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium. Kanter returns to Boston to compete in the Eastern Conference title race.
Shams Charania: Celtics center Enes Kanter will exercise his $5 million player option for the 2020-21 season, sources tell @The Athletic @Stadium.
The deadline on Kanter’s player option was originally this Saturday, but league sources tell The Athletic that option deadlines have been postponed until the NBA finalizes the start of free agency, currently projected for December 1. There is always the possibility he will opt-in with the understanding that the Celtics will use his salary for a draft-night trade, so even if Kanter exercises the option it may not ensure he will be in green in 2021.
Kanter recently spoke again of his love for the club, and this has led Fenerbahce to respond with a press release. “The person named Enes Kanter shared on some of his social media accounts first on June 1, 2020 and secondly today with the same sentences. We would like to inform the public about an issue that he has made twice with the same sentences in a short time, which concerns our club and we need to clarify the purpose of the unknown. Our club did not have any relationship with this person at this stage or in the future, with this person whose name is mentioned side by side with terrorist organizations and whose behavior has been very well known by our community when he left our club. Hereby, we would like to state once again that; The doors of our club are closed forever to those like him and will remain so.
Boston Celtics center Enes Kanter posted a message on Twitter saying that if he ever returns to his native Turkey, he’ll want to play for Fenerbahce Beko again. Kanter has been labeled terrorist by the Turkish government due to his support of exiled cleric Fethullah Gulen. “There is always someone calling me. Thank you, you are not leaving me alone. My dear team and only love Fenerbahce. I wore their jersey with pride and if I return to my country again, it’s the only team that I want to wear its jersey. Thanks and regards to all the board [of the club],” Kanter wrote on Twitter while posting a photo of himself from the days he played for Fenerbahce. He also changed his profile picture to this photo.
Enes Kanter: #RipCity ❤️🖤 pic.twitter.com/phOQnneCHQ
Marc J. Spears: New Celtics center Enes Kanter via text to @TheUndefeated on why he didn’t return to Portland. pic.twitter.com/kznF6CUmbU
The Celtics will need to fill a hole at the starting big position, as their only options are currently developing prospects Rob Williams, Guerschon Yabusele, Semi Ojeleye and rookie Grant Williams. One option may be Enes Kanter, who is expressing strong interest in the Celtics per a league source. Kanter is planning to speak with the Celtics and Blazers as free agency opens at 6 pm ET.
Mike Vorkunov: The Knicks have shown interest in bringing back Noah Vonleh, who was one of their most productive players this season, while ex-Knicks center Enes Kanter has received interest from the Blazers, Celtics, Lakers, and the Bulls, according to league sources.
Stefan Bondy: Teams that have expressed interest in free agent center Enes Kanter include the Lakers, Celtics and Blazers, according to a source.
Royce Young: Free agent center Enes Kanter is drawing interest from a number of teams, including the Lakers, Clippers and Kings, according to league sources.
Chris Haynes: Free agent center Enes Kanter is expected to receive interest from the Portland Trail Blazers, Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics on June 30, league sources tell Yahoo Sports.
“It was awesome. It was a blessing,” Kanter said. “Because I remember my situation with the Knicks … I wanted to go out there and play basketball, and it was my contract year, so I was like ‘I need to go out there and show them I can play.’ I’m glad that Portland happened. I love Portland, I love the people there, I love the fans there. I just want to go – and Portland counts, too – somewhere I can win games. I’m going into my ninth year. I just want to go somewhere where I have a good situation, have some playing time and just win.”
Casey Holdahl: “You don’t think about your contract, you don’t think about how much money you’re going to get, you don’t think about where you’re going to sign or re-sign. I think the only thing you need to do is just go out there and do whatever it takes to get a win.” — @Enes_Kanter
The Portland Trail Blazers have signed free agent center Enes Kanter, it was announced today by president of basketball operations Neil Olshey. Kanter, 26, joins the Trail Blazers from the New York Knicks, where he has averaged 14.0 points (53.6% FG, 31.8% 3-PT, 81.4% FT), 10.5 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 25.6 minutes in 44 games (23 starts) during the 2018-19 season. He ranks 14th in the NBA in rebounding and has recorded 25 double-doubles on the season. “The addition of Enes fortifies our front court for this critical late season push,” said Olshey. “He’s an impact player with Playoff experience that will be an excellent fit with our style of play.”
Jay Allen: Neil Olshey on the @Portland Trail Blazers signing @Enes Kanter: “The addition of Enes fortifies our front court for this critical late season push. He’s an impact player with Playoff experience that will be an excellent fit with our style of play.” #RipCity @RipCityRadio620
Evan Turner: ENES KANTER, LETS GOOOOO
Enes Kanter: #RipCity
Adrian Wojnarowski: Enes Kanter has agreed to a deal with Portland, league sources tell ESPN
Marc Berman: According to source, Enes Kanter didn’t give up a dime in their agreement to get waived.
Mike Fisher: Sources suggest to me that while #Mavs have $13M in this-season cap too , they are NOT planning pursuit of big men buyout candidates Enes Kanter or Marcin Gortat.
Enes Kanter: #Mecca 🗽🙏 pic.twitter.com/cMHUtMLb2T
Jeff Garcia: Knicks officially waive Enes Kanter. #nba pic.twitter.com/Nd7FfM31Al
Adrian Wojnarowski: The Knicks are releasing Enes Kanter, league source tells ESPN.
Kanter also knows that New York hopes to attract a top free agent this summer. To have enough cap space to sign a max free agent, the Knicks would have to renounce their rights to the seven-year veteran. That’s why Kanter paused Thursday when asked if he sees himself as part of the Knicks’ future. “I would love to be part of the future of the Knicks, of course,” he says.
Enes Kanter vs. the Knicks is just beginning. With Kanter finally letting out his bottled-up feelings, there’s probably only one logical solution — the Knicks center’s departure from the roster in either a trade or buyout.
It couldn’t be more obvious that Knicks coach David Fizdale has no use for Kanter any longer. Kanter, who opted into his contract, probably deserves a lot better than this anyway, plugging away for a franchise that long ago gave up on winning games. Trading Kanter to a contender will be tough unless there’s another expiring contract the Knicks can inherit worth in the neighborhood of $18 million.
As a 27-year-old free agent hitting a marketplace that’s flush with cash, so much of his next contract hinges on the progress seen in 2019. “You always think about [free agency],” Kanter says. “Even if people said ‘Oh I don’t think about it, I’m focused on the season’ it’s always in the back of your head. It can not let you affect your game, but you always think about ‘Hey, what am I going to do?’ ‘Where am I going to go?’ ‘Am I going to stay,’ ‘Am I going to leave?’”
Ian Begley: Because he’s on a one-year contract for next season, Enes Kanter purchased an insurance policy that will pay him $20 million if he suffers a career-threatening injury, he said in a phone interview.
Mike Vorkunov: Talked to Enes Kanter about his choice to opt-in for 2018-19 with the Knicks. He’ll make $18.6 million in the last year of his deal. “I think it was the right choice because also this market is terrible,” he said. “Just wait and play. See what can happen next year.” More later.
Al Iannazzone: Now it’s official. Kanter has opted in, a source said
Enes Kanter: #MakeKnicksGreatAgain 😂
Shams Charania: New York Knicks center Enes Kanter plans to exercise his $18.6M player option today to return to the team next season, league sources tell Yahoo Sports. Enes Kanter: God Damn shams 😂 I haven’t made any decisions yet.
Shams Charania: New York Knicks center Enes Kanter plans to exercise his $18.6M player option today to return to the team next season, league sources tell Yahoo Sports.
Mike Vorkunov: If Enes Kanter opts in at $18.6 million as he’s expected to, according to a league source, Knicks will have a non-taxpayer midlevel exception ($8 .6 mil) and the bi-annual exception ($3.4 mil) to spend this summer since they’ll be over the cap. Would expect decision around 5pm.
Ian Begley: Enes Kanter is leaning heavily toward opting in to his $18.6 million player option for 2018-19, per ESPN sources. Kanter will continue to survey the market until his Friday deadline but, barring an unforeseen significant change in the market, he will opt-in, per ESPN sources.
As much as Kanter said he wants to remain a Knick, he revealed his new power agent, Mark Bartelstein, has done his due diligence, and about five teams have emerged with interest in Kanter if he becomes a free agent beginning Sunday. “With Coach Fizdale, I want to stay more,’’ Kanter told The Post in a phone interview Monday night. “I know his mentality, I know how much freedom he gives to his players. It’s going to help my decision for sure. I think he’s going to change a lot of things. He seems like a relationship with him is like a friendship relationship. It’s not a player-coach relationship. I talked to him for two hours and it gives you so much confidence.’’
Kanter would leave $18.6 million on the table if he opts out, so those teams courting him better have cap space. Several agents believe it is in Kanter’s best interest to opt in because of the lack of cap-space money around the league this summer. “I’m going to make the decision on the last day,’’ Kanter said. “I want to take time and see what everyone else is doing. I want to stay with the Knicks. They have great fans, team, organization, people. I would love to stay here.
Enes Kanter has an $18.6-million option that he needs to make a decision on by the end of the month. The Knicks are not expected to give him a multiyear deal if he opts out, so odds are Kanter, who loves New York, will pick up his option. The Knicks would be fine with that.
Taylor Rooks: I asked Enes Kanter if he has a timetable on when he will make the decision whether or not to opt out. He says: “the last minute, the last day, the last second” with a smile.
Robinson, 20, might have found a perfect spot with the Knicks, who are committed to building a team with young, athletic players. Knicks backup center Kyle O’Quinn opted out of his contract. Starting center Enes Kanter is expected to opt out as well, although Kanter has expressed a strong desire to remain in New York.
Ian Begley: Enes Kanter hasn’t yet made a decision on his $18.6 million player option. Opposing teams expect him to opt in. But if Kanter opts out, multiple teams – including Milwaukee – have expressed interest internally in discussing a potential contract with the 26-year-old center.
If Kanter opts out of the $18.4 million final year, the Knicks would have cap space to pursue one of the better names of a soft free-agent class, in restricted free agents Jabari Parker or Julius Randle. A source said Kanter will make the decision by the end of next week.
Bobby Marks: Kyle O’Quinn declining his $4.25M contract will only impact the Knicks cap space this offseason if Enes Kanter decides to decline his $18.6M option. If Kanter returns, New York will be right at the cap. New York will have the $8.6M non tax midlevel and $3.4M biannual exception.
Kanter has been coy about his future, hinting one way or another over the last few months. But his real decision-making will come after the draft June 21. After that, he says, teams will have a better idea of where they’ll stand and their interest in and need for him, so he’ll have the information needed to choose what he wants to do. “The only thing I’m doing right now is waiting for the draft,” he told The Athletic. “After the draft we’ll see what’s going to happen. Because the draft a lot of things can change, for the Knicks and for the whole league. Because people are going to leave. Waiting for LeBron to decide and everything. I’m waiting for the draft to happen and then we’ll see.”
Kanter’s preference remains to sign a long-term contract, and he’ll talk to the Knicks first before any other machinations, but he knows this summer could be a frigid one for free agents. Few teams could have enough cap room to give him the money he would pass on if he opted out. “It’s a tough summer,” he said. “It’s a very tough summer. But we’ll see, though. If the smartest thing is to opt in, I’ll opt in. If the smartest thing is to opt out, I’ll opt out. We’ll see. I’ll talk to the Knicks, too, of course.”
Kanter tweeted Thursday a picture of himself with his body twisted and wrote, “my legs telling me opt out my body’s telling me opt in.” Fizdale said he’s preparing as if Kanter will be back. “As of today, he’s ours,” Fizdale said. “That’s how I look at it. He’s a Knick. Until I’m notified otherwise. “He could have been fooling me but he seemed excited and like he’s really looking forward to this fresh start. The guy’s a heck of a player and he fits the toughness part of what we’re talking about.”
Enes Kanter: My legs telling me Opt out My body telling me Opt in 🤷♂️🤦♂️ #TBT 😂
Ian Begley: Steve Mills on Enes Kanter: “Enes wants to be here in New York,” Mills said on MSG Network. Mills was then asked if the next move is the Knicks’ or Kanter’s. “Really, it’s his,” Mills said. “He has to choose to opt in.” Kanter has a $18.6 million player option for next season.
Ian Begley: Enes Kanter talks to @Royce Young about attending the Thunder game and his potential free agency: “We’ll see what’s going to happen. I definitely want to stay in New York if I can.” Kanter has a $18.6 million player option for next year.
Stefan Bondy: Enes Kanter still sounding like he wants to opt out. Asked about his decision, he told @Fred Katz he’s still on the Knicks “until July 1.” “We’ll talk to teams, we’ll see.”
“I’m gonna be right there [points about 15 rows back]. You know where [Kanter’s manager] Hilmi [Cinar] sits? I thought I’m gonna get seats right there [points courtside]. They gave me sears up there. It’s messed up. It’s OK.” They can’t put you on the big board. “They can’t?” Tampering. “What does that mean?” Because you’re still on the Knicks. “Am I? Am I?” Are you going to opt out? You are technically on the Knicks. “Until July 1, yes. We’ll talk to teams. We’ll see.” But yes, it’s tampering. I asked.
Fred Katz: Enes Kanter, who can become a free agent this summer, on why he’s not traveling: “It wouldn’t be cool, especially before I sign my contract. Then, maybe go. If I die, at least let me get the money.” Kanter had his passport cancelled by the Turkish government last summer.
Ian Begley: Here’s Enes Kanter talking about potentially opting out of his $18.6 million player option to seek a longer-term deal with NYK. FWIW: IF Kanter opts out (which I have my doubts about) & Kyle O’Quinn opts out, NYK could have roughly $18 million in cap space, per @Bobby Marks:
Mike Vorkunov: Talked to Mark Bartelstein, Kanter’s agent about this. He said Kanter has a long ways to go on making a decision on his option and today’s press conference was “much ado about nothing.” “We’re in April. There’s a lot of due diligence and work that needs to be done.”
Adam Zagoria: “All the speculation with Enes is premature. There’s a ton of due diligence that has to be done. The season just ended. We’re not leaning one way or the other right now. We’ll go through that process over the next couple of months.” – agent Mark Bartelstein tells @SNYtv
Ian Begley: Enes Kanter says he wants to be in New York long term. Says it’s accurate to say he’s leaning toward opting out of his $18.6 million player option to seek a longer-term deal.
Kanter, who announced last month that he was hiring Mark Bartelstein as his new agent, has an $18 million player option this summer. It seems likely that Kanter will exercise the option, but opposing executives have come away with the impression that he was leaning toward opting out, presumably to pursue a multi-year contract. The executives referenced above drew those conclusions before Kanter hired Bartelstein, who, along with Mevlut ‘Hilmi’ Cinar, Kanter’s manager, will help guide the 25-year-old through his decision.
Kanter is switching to agent Mark Bartelstein and mulling not picking up next season’s $18.6 million player option, but claims he won’t make a business decision to sit the final four games. “You’re always thinking the business part, but for me basketball comes first,” Kanter said. “We’ve got four games left and the Knicks are still paying me. The Knicks are paying for me to go out there and — if I’m healthy — to go out there to play. So if I feel really good, I’ll go out there and play.
“It’d be really selfish to think about opting in or opting out or thinking about my contract and not playing, giving up on my teammates and my team. It’d be really selfish. For me the Knicks are still paying me, I’m still part of this team. If I’m still healthy I’m just going to go out there and fight.” Kanter is averaging 14.1 points and 11 rebounds on 59.2 percent shooting.
Now even though they are no longer competing for a playoff spot, and they may not next season since Kristaps Porzingis will miss at least the first few months recovering from a torn ACL, Kanter is committed to staying with the Knicks. “This is the place I want to be,” Kanter said. “I’ve said it from the beginning because I know the organization. I love the city, lot of Turkish people. With KP or without KP, I want to be here for sure.
Kanter, who currently doesn’t have an agent, said he’s only thinking about this season. “I’m not saying I’m opting in or opting out,” Kanter said. “I’m going to focus on this season, finish this season. I don’t even have an agent yet. I’ll get an agent first and talk to him about [it]. My thing right now it would be selfish for me to just say I’ll do this, I’ll do that. I’m going to finish this season right, have fun with my teammates and start thinking about the contract stuff.”
You say you want to be here for a long time. What led you to that? Enes Kanter: I remember during the draft I went to see a lot of organizations. But after you play in New York, you don’t really want to go anywhere else. The people around are so cool. I remember maybe it was my second month here. I was thinking, “This place is so cool, I want to retire here.” I remember one of the media guys was asking me, “Is it too early to decide because you’ve been here for not even a half season? Why did you want to decide that you wanted to retire as a Knick?” I was like, “This is the place I want to be.” You play at Madison Square Garden, you see all the famous people. I’m really cool with Ben Stiller.
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October 1, 2022 | 6:40 am EDT Update
Klay Thompson will not play in either of the Golden State Warriors’ preseason games in Japan, coach Steve Kerr announced. Kerr said the decision was made out of an abundance of caution as the Warriors go through a condensed training camp. “Just feel more comfortable giving him a little more of a ramp up,” Kerr said ahead of the Warriors’ 96-87 win over the Washington Wizards on Friday. “He’s just not quite ready to play at this point just based on where, you know, we’re so early in camp. We just want to be safe and make sure he gets a good ramp up before he plays in games.”
“Just coming off the two years with the injuries, this is really unique to play a game after 3½ practices so we’re just being cautious and trying to do the smart thing,” Kerr said. Thompson was under a strict game restriction last season — starting under a minute restriction and never playing in back-to-back games — after missing two consecutive seasons with leg injuries.
Anthony Slater: Klay Thompson didn’t play pickup this summer. Called it a “mental block” he will eventually get over because of torn Achilles in summer ball. But that’s slowed his preseason ramp up. Called next week a “big week” as he revs back up for regular season. Here he is explaining it pic.twitter.com/0ZCCmWYFO1
James was asked after practice Friday how many preseason games he wants to participate in. “More than I played last year,” James said. “How many did I play last year? More than I played last year.” Last season, James played in three of the Lakers’ six preseason games. With a new coach in Darvin Ham, a new system and just six players returning from last season’s team, the plan for James playing preseason games is being worked out.
Ham said that they will “figure all of that out” in the coming days. “Obviously we have those type of things on our board and on our laundry list of things to get done,” Ham said. “But our focus has totally been on trying to establish a style of play on both sides of the ball, establish our principles and make sure we’re executing the basic foundation of who we are and what our identity will be. But definitely my coaching staff and I, we have had light discussions about what that’s going to look like, how many preseason games, how many minutes.”
Ham noted Nunn’s ability to score at all three levels, from three, to the mid-range, and at the rim, while praising his work defensively as well, showing that he can squeeze through pick and rolls, avoid screens and contest shots on the perimeter. It takes time for some players to learn how to play alongside a defensive magnet like LeBron, but that process has begun. “You deal with it by getting on the floor, getting in the game, logging minutes,” said LeBron. “You start to get more and more into the game, watching more and more film, more and more practices and it starts to come with time. I think that will continue to happen with the new guys we have this year.”
Cam Thomas had a promising rookie season in 2021-22, but his playing time evaporated when the Nets added Seth Curry and then Goran Dragic. If Thomas found minutes hard to come by down the stretch last season, he’s going to be facing an even more uphill climb to start his sophomore campaign. “We’ll see how it goes after training camp. But he clearly is on a veteran team with a lot of guys who can play, have had a lot of success,” Nets coach Steve Nash admitted. “We know Cam’s talented, and just trying to continue to develop him and see if he can keep pushing and getting better at certain things that’ll help him get minutes.