Enes Kanter

NBA Notes: Warriors spurn White House; Knicks agree to trade Carmelo Anthony to Thunder

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NBA Notes: Warriors spurn White House; Knicks agree to trade Carmelo Anthony to Thunder

SOMERSET, N.J. -- President Donald Trump denounced protests by NFL players and rescinded a White House invitation for NBA champion Stephen Curry in a two-day rant that targeted top professional athletes and brought swift condemnation from league executives and star players alike on Saturday.

Wading into thorny issues of race and politics, Trump's comments in a Friday night speech and a series of Saturday tweets drew sharp responses from some of the nation's top athletes, with LeBron James calling the president a "bum."

Trump started by announcing that Curry, the immensely popular two-time MVP for the Golden State Warriors, would not be welcome at the White House for the commemorative visit traditionally made by championship teams after Curry indicated he didn't want to come. Later, Trump reiterated what he said at a rally in Alabama the previous night -- that NFL players who kneel for the national anthem should be fired.

The Warriors said it was made clear to them that they were not welcome at the White House.

Curry had said he did not want to go anyway, but the Warriors had not made a collective decision before Saturday -- and had planned to discuss it in the morning before the president's tweet, to which coach Steve Kerr said : "Not surprised. He was going to break up with us before we could break up with him."

Others had far stronger reactions (see full story).

Knicks agree to trade Carmelo Anthony to Thunder
NEW YORK - Carmelo Anthony won't be at Knicks training camp after all. He'll be in Oklahoma City, joining Russell Westbrook and Paul George in a loaded lineup.

The Knicks agreed to trade Anthony to the Thunder on Saturday, saving themselves a potentially awkward reunion next week with the player they'd been trying to deal since last season.

New York will get Enes Kanter, Doug McDermott and a draft pick, a person with knowledge of the deal said. The person spoke with The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the trade had not been announced.

The Knicks had said just a day earlier that they expected Anthony to be there when they reported for camp Monday. But it was clear they didn't want him anymore and he no longer wanted to be in New York, where he arrived with so much hype that was never fulfilled in February 2011.

He rarely had a championship core around him in New York but jumps right into one in Oklahoma City along with Westbrook, the NBA MVP, and fellow All-Star George, who was acquired from Indiana this summer.

Anthony will see his old teammates soon: The Knicks open the regular season at Oklahoma City on Oct. 19 (see full story).

NBA Notes: Chris Bosh, Heat reach agreement to part ways

NBA Notes: Chris Bosh, Heat reach agreement to part ways

MIAMI -- Chris Bosh's time on the Miami Heat roster is finally nearing an end.

A complicated end, at that.

The blood clots that Bosh has dealt with over parts of the last three seasons have been declared a career-ending injury situation and the Heat will soon remove the 11-time All-Star forward from their roster and salary cap going forward, a person with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press on Friday. The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the agreement has not been announced publicly.

Bosh will never be able to play again for the Heat, said the person, adding that Bosh could play again if another club gives him medical clearance.

If that happens -- and it's unclear if that's a possibility because the specifics of Bosh's current health situation are unknown -- the Heat will face no risk of having any of the $52 million Bosh is owed over the next two seasons returning to their salary cap.

"I'm still a basketball player at heart," Bosh told AP in March. "I can't help it" (see full story).

Warriors: Curry urges teammates to be themselves
OAKLAND, Calif. -- Stephen Curry spoke up, just in case his Golden State Warriors needed another reminder from their MVP and leader. His message as the NBA Finals began: be yourselves.

Forget the juicy story lines, or avenging something that happened last June, that championship that got away. Set aside the hyped-up Cavs-Dubs rivalry, constant talk of the trilogy, Part III.

Just go play. And it worked splendidly for the two-time reigning MVP and Kevin Durant in their first Finals together.

Durant was utterly dominant 11 months after leaving Oklahoma City last July to join the Warriors, while Curry found a groove once he removed the black sleeve from his shooting arm protecting his tender right elbow. It just didn't feel right.

They combined for 66 points and 18 assists in a 113-91 Game 1 thumping Thursday night against LeBron James and the defending champion Cavaliers, who must find a way to defend the high-flying Durant when the best-of-seven series resumes Sunday at Oracle Arena.

"We were really, really good in that department at just being ourselves, playing Warriors basketball, knowing that there's a lot of talent out on the floor," said Curry, who had 28 points and 10 assists. "And that's our best effort to win this championship, is just be ourselves" (see full story).

Cavaliers: Team must slow Warriors at the rim
The first-half list of baskets for Golden State's Kevin Durant in Game 1 of the NBA Finals went like this: layup, dunk, jumper, dunk, dunk, dunk, dunk, layup, dunk, layup.

Most were easy.

And easy isn't supposed to happen, especially not at the rim in the NBA Finals.

Forget all the things that Cleveland did wrong offensively in Game 1, the poor shooting and the 20 turnovers and how the bench basically contributed nothing and how Rihanna got -- and merited -- more commentary from ABC's Jeff Van Gundy than J.R. Smith and Tristan Thompson did.

The Cavs can score. They'll likely be better on Sunday night in Game 2. That isn't the issue.

The issue is this: If the reigning NBA champions don't show some toughness -- especially at the rim -- soon, they won't be reigning NBA champions much longer.

"I think that's how Cleveland is going to approach it, make it a physical game," Michael Cooper, now the coach of the WNBA's Atlanta Dream who went through some epic Lakers-Celtics battles as a player in the 1980s, said before the series began. "Golden State wants a finesse game" (see full story).

Thunder: Kanter’s father reportedly detained in Turkey
OKLAHOMA CITY -- Thunder center Enes Kanter's father has been detained in Turkey, the country's official news agency reported Friday.

Mehmet Kanter was detained in his Istanbul home for an investigation undertaken by a prosecutor's office in northwestern Turkey, according to the Anadolu news agency. He is being sent to Tekirdag province for questioning. In Turkey, people are detained, then prosecutors may seek an arrest pending trial or release the detainee.

Anadolu does not specify the scope of the investigation, but Dogan news agency says it is part of an investigation into connections to U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen.

The father had disowned Kanter for his public support of Gulen, who the Turkish government blames for last summer's failed coup attempt when nearly 270 people were killed and more than 2,000 were wounded while trying to overthrow Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The Turkish government considers Gulen's movement a terror organization. Gulen has denied all allegations of involvement in the coup attempt.

Enes Kanter tweeted on Friday about the incident . He called Erdogan the "Hitler of our century," and warned that his father "is potentially to get tortured as thousand others."

The Kanters have become bigger targets than usual lately as Enes Kanter has continued to be a vocal supporter of Gulen's movement and critic of Erdogan (see full story).

Knicks: Oakley headed to trial over arena fracas
NEW YORK -- Former New York Knicks player Charles Oakley has chosen to go to trial in August on charges he struck a security guard at Madison Square Garden.

Oakley appeared briefly before a Manhattan judge on Friday. He rejected a conditional dismissal that would have left him with a clean record after six months of good behavior.

Oakley became a fan favorite when he played for the Knicks from 1988 to 1998. But he's had a falling out with the organization in recent years.

On Feb. 8, he sat a few rows from Knicks owner James Dolan at a game against the Los Angeles Clippers.

Security approached Oakley early in the game and a fracas ensued. Oakley was removed from the building and handcuffed.

Oakley says he didn't do anything wrong.

Sixers pounded in 'bar fight' by Russell Westbrook, bruising Thunder

Sixers pounded in 'bar fight' by Russell Westbrook, bruising Thunder

BOX SCORE

OKLAHOMA CITY -- The Sixers prepared for a basketball game against the Thunder. They got a lot more than that on Wednesday.

"I can say it was like a bar fight but they were the only guys in that bar who really destroyed us," Dario Saric said. 

The Thunder steamrolled the Sixers, 122-97 (see Instant Replay). Oklahoma City shot 54.5 percent, outrebounded the Sixers 54 to a season-low 25, and scored a massive 76 points in the paint. That's without getting into Russell Westbrook's 18-point, 14-assist, 11-rebound triple-double (notched in three quarters) and Enes Kanter's 24-point, 11-rebound double-double (see feature highlight).

All that amounts to ...

"Today, they just simply killed us," Saric said. 

Westbrook led the charge with his 35th triple-double of the season. He is now six from tying Oscar Robertson for most in a single season (41) and also six from tying Wilt Chamberlain for most all-time in the NBA (78). 

Westbrook accomplished his feat while taking just six shots (6 for 6 from the field and 6 for 6 from the free throw line). Per Elias Sports Bureau, he became the first player to record a triple-double while being perfect from the field and the charity stripe.

"He averages a triple-double for Christ's sake, so it's tough for us to stop him," T.J. McConnell said. 

This game was live demonstration of natural-born intensity that comes from within and cannot be taught in film sessions or drills. The Thunder rode the momentum of MVP-candidate Westbrook's triple-double and it spilled over to the entire team.

Kanter posted his double-double in just 20 minutes off the bench. Four Thunder players scored in double digits while the reserves combined for 63 points. Top to bottom, every player on the active roster fought.

"We have to have that killer instinct," Westbrook said. "We have to be able to come out when you're up 12 or 14 and be able to push it to 20 to 22, especially at home. To be a good team, you need to be able to do this consistently." 

Everyone that steps on the court against the Thunder, whether a lottery-bound team or a title contender, represents an opponent standing in the way of their postseason aspirations as they hold down the sixth spot in the Western Conference. The Thunder's motivation was clear with less than a month left in the regular season.

"It's a fantastic example for our young guys on the physicality of playoff-type teams," Brett Brown said. "That side of it stood out to me more than it has in a long time. You look at (Steven) Adams and you look at Kanter and you look at Taj Gibson and you look at the discrepancy on the boards, the rebounding differential, and it felt that. It's just a reminder, if you want to play late in April and May, maybe June one day, that's the physicality the playoffs bring."

For the Thunder, this is one win closer to the postseason. For the Sixers, it is an example of grit they can follow to improve, and how many steps they have to take to get there.

"They are a good team, playoff team. We need to get a lot of experience from this," Saric said. "They are really tough, big, strong, and they have Russell, who will probably be MVP of the league. Then you put everything in one team, it's maybe too big for us in this moment."