Storyline: Enes Kanter Free Agency

102 rumors in this storyline

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.

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“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.”

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.”
2 years ago via VICE

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?’”

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.

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.”

“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.

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.”

2 years ago via ESPN

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.

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.”
2 years ago via ESPN

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.

It’s been long assumed Enes Kanter will opt into the final year of his contract. The $18.4 million is just too great. But with the 25-year-old enjoying his best season in the NBA, the idea that perhaps this isn’t a given is worth exploring — especially since Kanter says he hasn’t made up his mind. “It’s always on your mind,” Kanter told the Daily News. “But the season is going really well right now. It’s just a contract. I think people worry about it too much and it gets into their head. “People think about it too much and then it affects them, it affects their game, it affects their whole team. When the season is over, that’s the time to think about it.”

The Oklahoma City Thunder has exercised its right of first refusal and matched the offer sheet extended to center Enes Kanter by the Portland Trail Blazers, it was announced today by Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti. Per team policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed. “We traded for Enes last season with the intention of keeping him as a member of the Thunder for several years to come, and we are excited that he will continue with us,” said Presti. “He adds valuable depth to our roster, diversity to our frontcourt and the dimension that he brings offensively will positively impact our team.”

Thunder determined to match Enes Kanter offer sheet

Oklahoma City Thunder center Enes Kanter has signed a four-year, $70 million max offer sheet from the Portland Trail Blazers, a person with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press. NBA.com first reported Thursday that Portland was expected to sign Kanter to the offer sheet. A league source told ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne that the Oklahoma City Thunder are determined to match the offer sheet. They now have three days to do so.

Oklahoma City restricted free-agent center Enes Kanter is signing a four-year, $70 million maximum contract offer sheet Thursday with the Portland Trail Blazers, league sources told Yahoo Sports. Enes’ deal will include a player option on the fourth year, and a 15 percent trade kicker bonus. Kanter traveled to Portland on Thursday to sign the sheet, and it can be immediately transmitted electronically to Oklahoma City. The Thunder have three days to match the offer sheet and retain Kanter – or decide to let him leave for the Blazers. The clock starts once the signed offer sheet is sent to the Thunder.

Enes Kanter to meet with Thunder

Enes Kanter — the Oklahoma City Thunder’s top free agent — has plan to meet with the franchise in Chicago on July 1, the two sides targeting an early contract completion. The Thunder and Kanter are expected to discuss three- and four-year contract sheets that could reach maximum-level money with incentives, sources told RealGM. For the organization and Kanter, a restricted free agent, there will be an early window in free agency to reach an agreement before one of the top five available big men pursues larger offers elsewhere.
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July 7, 2020 | 9:37 pm EDT Update

July 7, 2020 | 8:13 pm EDT Update
The Los Angeles Lakers plan to reward guard Avery Bradley, who opted out of the NBA’s restart, with a championship ring this season if the franchise is able to capture its 17th NBA title. “Yes, [Lakers general manager] Rob Pelinka made me aware of the Lakers offering me a ring if they win the championship,” Bradley told Yahoo Sports via phone Tuesday afternoon. “It’s a very kind gesture on their part.”
Alex English is certainly not one to tip-toe around tough topics. Since retiring from the NBA as an 8-time All Star in 1991, he has stood up for his legacy with the Denver Nuggets and for players as a crucial member of the NBA Players Association. He has now turned his attention to fighting for WNBA equality as a member of the WNBA PA Board of Advocates. “I want to see them get the respect they deserve,” explained English, the NBA’s leading scorer for the 1980s. “I know that there’s always gonna be those naysayers that say ‘well you know, they don’t make the kind of money in advertising and TV rights as the NBA Guys do.’ Yeah, but that took decades of the NBA to get to that level and the WNBA has done a great job with the PA of building that same type of support.”
English has gravitated towards the women’s game more in recent years because of how pure the basketball is. “The purity of the game and the quality of the game is what drew me to [the WNBA]. In some instances, their game is even more pure to me than what you see from the men,” said the 8-time NBA All-Star. “[WNBA players] have picked up on the technical part of the game that the NBA used to have. And, now as the game has progressed, you see a lot of guys that aren’t as true to form or true to techniques as the women are.”
The WNBA’s plan is largely unknown, but we do know that it will be very different from the NBA’s. Players will earn their full salaries and some will be able to bring family or caretakers with them. But, they will also have to share rooms, travel off-site for games, and have only some meals provided. English believes the inequality in player experience is simply illogical. “You’re asking the same thing from [WNBA players as you are from NBA players]: to risk their lives to give you a product that’s going to be that you sell on TV and radio and merchandise,” said English. “You are asking the same thing from the two then why not treat them the same?”
July 7, 2020 | 7:28 pm EDT Update
“I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – we’re planning on life without Jonathan,’’ Jeff Weltman said. “Jonathan is with the team because it benefits him to be with the team and he wants to be with the team. The same could be said with (Aminu), but Jonathan is at a different stage of his rehab and most of the work that he needs to get done it would benefit him to be around our performance staff. Obviously, he’s at the stage where he can do a little light court stuff. Beyond that, we want to keep him attached to the team and he wants to support his teammates, but I wouldn’t read anything into that.’’
Weltman believes that the strong collective character of the Magic’s roster will help the squad battle through any potential adversity that could come in the days, weeks and months ahead. “We’re always talking about it a lot and I always say it – we’re not just betting on the player; we’re betting on the person and I believe in our guys,’’ Weltman said via a Zoom call from the Disney campus on Tuesday afternoon. “I believe that we have high-character group of players and that spreads down to all of our coaches, our performance staff and all of our support staff. (The players) have worked hard, they’ve stayed together, they’ve communicated, and they’ve remained optimistic at points where there was more uncertainty. As the plans have come into clearer focus, they’ve united, and there’s a feeling of togetherness and comradery.’’
Weltman said he has no concerns about the status of Fultz, who has evolved into one of the true feel-good stories of the season with his triumphant return from Thoracic Outlet Syndrome this season. In 64 games with the Magic (59 starts), Fultz has averaged 12.1 points, 5.2 assists, 3.3 rebounds and 1.3 steals while shooting 47.3 percent from the floor. Said Weltman: “I don’t have a timeline (on Fultz’s return), but as I said Markelle just has some personal matters that he is handling. He’s on top of everything and hopefully he’ll be out here (at Disney) shortly. He’s looking very much forward to joining up with his team once he handles his business.’’
Prince’s ability to recover and reach optimum playing shape became a more difficult proposition given the time he would be losing with protocols needed to return to the floor in Orlando. The ramp-up in practice time needed once he had satisfied testing protocols on negative tests, traveled separately to Florida, quarantined for several days and only then resumed workouts made his participation even prohibitive for a July 30 tip-off on a roster already decimated with injuries.
July 7, 2020 | 6:52 pm EDT Update
Nurse knows family time is precious. “It’s really another part of the puzzle, and it’s a big one,” the Raptors coach said on a Zoom call Tuesday from Naples, Fla. “It starts with conversation, when you’re bumping into Fred [VanVleet] or Kyle [Lowry], and you’re asking them how are the wife and kids, and what are they doing, and when was the last time you talked to them. There’s a lot more of that going on than I would say normally would happen… a lot more now because we’re all showing pictures and whatever. It’s another one of those things you’d be more lenient on. We’re getting ready to start a meeting and somebody says ‘Oh, man, my kid’s FaceTiming me,’ and you say ‘Take it, go out in the hall and take it, and we’ll wait for you.”‘
When Nurse left his Toronto house for Florida, his three-year-old son Leo said he’d wait for him by the door. “He didn’t quite understand how long I’m going to be gone,” said Nurse, who has another son Rocky born during last year’s thrilling post-season run. “I told him I’m going to coach some games, and he said ‘Well, I’m going to wait right here for ya.’ I hope he’s moved from that spot because it’s going to be a while.”
Storyline: Orlando Bubble
Nurse said he feels safe with the NBA’s coronavirus protocols. “We are going a long ways out of our way to make it extra safe as we should. We really are in the hotel. We are confined. We are away from everything. There is cleaning all over the place. Everyone is wearing masks. We go to the gym and there’s cleaning and we come back. It feels really safe,” Nurse said. “I think the early stages or days of the Disney thing are critical. Getting a whole bunch of testing done and getting kind of to a point there. I think it will all be done at a really high level and remain fairly safe. I hope I’m right.”
With the NBA season set to resume at the end of July, the Mavericks have a plan. Rather than let their return to play be a distraction from the movement encompassing the nation, they’re working on a unified message. Rather than stay silent on the injustice in the country, they’re using their platform when play resumes at the Walt Disney World Resort to amplify their voices. “I think, first and foremost, as a team, we just have to make sure we’re on the same page to see what we’re going to do when we get to Orlando,” Mavericks guard Tim Hardaway Jr. said in a Zoom call with reporters Monday. “I’m happy that the season is starting and I’m happy that it’s happening at this time so we can use our platform to express ourselves.”
“That’s what being an athlete and being on one of the biggest stages is all about: expressing yourself,” Hardaway said. “I’m happy that we’re going to be able to so that as a team. I’m pretty sure we’ll talk about that as the days go on, but for now, I’m happy that we’re going to start the season around this time. We want to make sure we use that platform to get our voices heard.”
Storyline: Orlando Bubble
July 7, 2020 | 6:29 pm EDT Update
The Thunder, with CAA Sports, has created the Thunder Fellows Program, a nonprofit organization designed to unlock opportunities in sports, technology and entertainment for Black students in the Tulsa area, the team announced Tuesday. The program, guided by the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission, will be comprised of two groups of students: Fellows, Black students from regional colleges and universities, and Young Leaders, Black students in the Tulsa area from grades 8 to 12.
The Thunder Fellows Program will be located in Tulsa’s Greenwood District, the site of the Tulsa Race Massacre in 1921 when white mobs killed hundreds of Black people and destroyed homes and businesses in what was known as Black Wall Street. “Our organization is deeply committed to social justice and the actions that are necessary to create better opportunities for the Black community, now and in the future,” Thunder chairman Clay Bennett said in release. “We will work tirelessly to make this a program that will create change for generations to come.”
Shaquille O’Neal isn’t just one of the best centers to ever play basketball, he’s also a successful businessman, actor and platinum selling DJ. In fact, music was his life before it got hijacked by basketball. “I have been DJing since the eighties,” Shaq tells Maxim. “Music has always been in my blood. I was that guy spinning at frat parties after my basketball games, in the locker room, and making mixtapes.”
Draymond Green said his championship Warriors would beat your Lakers. Any thoughts on that? Shaquille O’Neal: I have a hard time believing that the greatest coach of all time, plus me and Kobe, wouldn’t match up quite nicely against Steve Kerr and his gang. Kobe takes Steph and dominates him. Fisher takes Klay and manhandles him. Fox takes Draymond and makes him foul out in the first half. Horace would do his thing with K.D. But let’s be real, K.D., is a beast, and you can only do so much with him. And then I’d remind Pachulia why I am in the Hall of Fame and he is not.
What is your fondest memory of Kobe Bryant? Shaquille O’Neal: I really cherish the time I had with Kobe. We helped each other win the championship for the first time. That says it all. Without Kobe I would have never maximized my true potential. I like to think the same for him. But if I had to choose one moment it would be Kobe’s final game at the Staples Center. He looked so at peace while on the court. He was a free man with no pressure at all to score or deliver. He dropped 60 that game and I was there courtside to cheer him on.
Storyline: Bryant-Shaq Dynamic
July 7, 2020 | 6:16 pm EDT Update
Peyton Siva is currently back in Florida as well, taking some time off with his family as he celebrates the Basketball Bundesliga League title he and his Alba Berlin teammates won in late June. And while cases have risen lately in the Sunshine State and around the U.S., the top German basketball league reopened the right way last month, Siva said — over the course of three weeks in Munich, none of the players, coaches or hotel staff involved with the 10-team tournament tested positive at any time.
Storyline: Orlando Bubble
The stakes were high, Siva said, just like they’ll be high when NBA players return to the court later this month. But a successful restart, he added, can send a message to the world. “This is a chance to show that basketball can survive through this time — whether that’s with spectators or not,” he told The Courier Journal last Thursday, the day after his plane landed back in the U.S.
It was a winning strategy — he came back to the U.S. as a BBL champion, starting at point guard for title-winning Alba Berlin — but he advised NBA players preparing for Orlando to enjoy their time outside the bubble now. Life is different once you’re inside. “I feel like it’s going to be a lot tougher for them, since it’s a lot longer season that they’re going to be playing than we had,” Siva said. “… Try to get out and do stuff as much as you can because you can get cabin fever staying in a place so long. But I feel like they’ll have a lot more things to do with going outside, going golfing, more entertainment — and plus they can have family come later on. I think that’ll help a lot of the guys.”
NBA champion, Hall of Famer and cannabis entrepreneur Isiah Thomas was recently appointed CEO and Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors of the publicly traded, Colombian hemp and cannabis producer One World Pharma, replacing the company’s founder, Craig Ellins. The basketball legend isn’t new to business or investing. In fact, his holding company, Isiah International Inc., has a diverse portfolio that includes cannabis oil and CBD companies, as well as the legendary Cheurlin Champagne, which he acquired in 2015.
As Thomas explains, a series of tragedies in his own family would enhance his interest in medical cannabis. “I had one of my brothers pass away from cancer, then my mother died, and finally my father died from cancer. And I remember, at the end, all of them were struggling with their appetite,” said Thomas. “And not eating was hurting them terribly.” When his mom got sick, her appetite just wasn’t there and the doctors who were trying to get her to eat wanted to prescribe cannabis. However, as many others in her generation, Mrs. Thomas still thought of the plant as a dangerous drug — and her response was to succinctly decline the prescription. “Well, I’m not smoking no reefer!,” Thomas recalls his mother’s stern response to the doctor’s offer.
In 1994, the NBA entrusted him to essentially start the globalization of the basketball business in Canada with the Toronto Raptors franchise. That, Thomas says, was his first international business experience, and it was game changing. “For someone who had just left the playing floor, for the NBA to really give you that major responsibility of going to Canada and introducing their first franchise outside of the United States… it was a huge responsibility, but it was also a huge compliment.” Today, Thomas is especially proud of being Co-Founder of the Raptors. Twenty-five years later, the Toronto Raptors became the first international franchise to be crowned NBA Champions. “It warms my heart to know that the proper foundation was laid by the work that we did there early on,” said Thomas.
July 7, 2020 | 6:02 pm EDT Update
It was mildly surprising to hear second-year guard Shake Milton take the strongest stance when it came to the NBA’s decision to resume the season. “I don’t really think we should be playing,” Milton said in a video conference call with reporters Tuesday, “but I think the NBA is doing all that they can to make the environment as safe as possible. My teammates want to play so we’re going to go down there and try to win.”
Storyline: Orlando Bubble
When asked why specifically he thought the league shouldn’t resume play, he provided a poignant response. “I think [the spread of the virus], and then also I feel like there’s a lot of other stuff going on,” Milton said. “There are issues going on right now in the world that are way bigger than a sport, way bigger than the game of basketball. I feel like we’re on the cusp of finally having people tune in and really try to listen and try to understand more about the things that are happening in our country. I feel like the moment is too big right now and I don’t want the game of basketball to overshadow it.”
The sports “bubbles” are also home to experimental new tech and trials of new ways of testing for COVID-19. They might also tell us more about how the virus spreads. “There’s a lot of interest in sports coming back, and they could also be a plan for how we bring back universities, colleges and school safely. It’s the same concept, with a lot of people in close proximity to each other,” says Priya Sampathkumar, an epidemiologist at the Mayo Clinic who’s working on an NBA antibody study. “It’s trying it out — if we can’t keep them safe, maybe it’s not safe to open up.”
Storyline: Coronavirus
The closed-off NBA bubble is dedicated to basketball, but it’s also a makeshift COVID-19 research laboratory. The league is helping trial a saliva-based COVID-19 test, and any players who opt in will help the Yale School of Public Health validate their testing method. Players in Orlando will be tested almost every day using the typical method: having a swab shoved deep inside their nose. Players who enroll in the Yale study, though, will also give a saliva sample along with each test. The team will compare the two types of tests and check if the saliva test is as accurate as the nose and throat swab.