The NBA and the Canadian government may have an Enes Kanter problem on their hands.
With the Portland Trail Blazers just four wins away from their first NBA Finals appearance in 27 years, it's a real possibility the Blazers could dethrone the Warriors as best in the West and face off against either Toronto or Milwaukee in the finals.
Enter Enes Kanter: Portland’s Turkish center who has been a vocal critic of his homeland’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. According to Kanter, the Turkish government requested an INTERPOL “Red Notice” for the NBA star in January and the 26-year-old is scared to leave the USA due to safety fears.
Should Portland make it to NBA Finals and play Toronto, Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden wants to make sure Kanter feels safe.
In a letter penned to Canadian Prime Minister, Wyden asked the country to take special precautions to ensure Kanter's safety.
Here’s a look at the full letter:
This isn't the first time Kanter has stayed in the U.S. due to safety concerns. When the Trail Blazers traveled to Toronto in early March for a regular-season meeting with the Raptors, Kanter remained in the U.S. due to issues with his immigration status and the threat of the red notice. As a member of the New York Knicks, Kanter chose to forgo a trip to London, citing concerns he would be assassinated.
"Sadly, I'm not going because of that freaking lunatic, the Turkish president," Kanter told ESPN. "There's a chance that I can get killed out there."
The Trail Blazers and Warriors will meet in the Western Conference Finals beginning Tuesday, while the Raptors face off with the Milwaukee Bucks in the Eastern Conference Finals. If the Blazers and Raptors were to indeed meet, Toronto would have home court advantage for the first two meetings.