TUALATIN – There are still many question marks surrounding Enes Kanter’s future.
The Trail Blazers center along with, Al-Farouq Aminu, Rodney Hood, Seth Curry, and Jake Layman (restricted) will all become free agents this summer.
Portland owns Kanter’s non-Bird Rights, so a team will easily be able to offer him a lot more money this summer.
One thing is certain:
Kanter has enjoyed his time in Rip City.
Since Kanter landed with the Trail Blazers in mid-February, he has shown his appreciation and love for the organization and the city. Kanter was an integral part in Portland making it to the Western Conference Finals for the first time in 19 years.
The Trail Blazers center started off Tuesday’s exit interview by saying, "signing here was the best thing that ever happened to me in my career."
“It’s been an amazing experience… This team, this organization, the whole state, not just made me a better basketball player, but made me a better person on and off the court… From day one, they opened their arms, they gave me a warm welcome. From the first week, I felt like I was part of this team for years,” Kanter said.
Kanter also said his experience in Portland will play into his offseason decision.
The 7-footer mentioned “winning” is one of his highest priorities when thinking about his offseason decision on where he will end up next season.
Over the last few months, Kanter has been extremely vocal about the Turkish government reportedly requesting an INTERPOL "Red Notice" for him back in January because of his alleged ties to exiled U.S. based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gülen, who Kanter has openly supported.
Being a professional athlete, Kanter has used his platform to educate people on what is going on in Turkey.
“I’m going to spend some of my time in Washington DC this summer because whenever I go there most of the senators just always sit down and talk about all the stuff that’s going on back in Turkey,“ Kanter said.
Kanter added, “I’m trying to use this platform to be a voice of all those innocent people [in Turkey] that don’t have one.”
Because Kanter cannot travel outside of the United States, he is going to be keeping busy with youth basketball camps.
Along with his usual workouts and offseason training, Kanter will be hosting over 30 kids’ camps in different cities across the US. All for free.
Kanter feels he is able to give back by not charging families money to come to his camps.
Kanter discussed at exit interviews that life has been hard with his situation, and he does feel that he has been put on the earth for a reason. He is also thankful to have basketball in his life.
"Basketball is like my escape...as soon as I step on the court, all I care about is my teammates, basketball and winning. But as soon as I wake up in the morning... The fight begins."
Kanter will continue the fight for people in Turkey and weigh all of his options this offseason. NBA free agency begins July 1st at 9:00pm pacific time.