Enes Kanter

Enes Kanter continues to fight for civil rights, speaks at Black Lives Matter protest

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WCVB-TV Boston

Enes Kanter continues to fight for civil rights, speaks at Black Lives Matter protest

To the shock of no one, Enes Kanter is standing up for civil rights. 

The former Portland Trail Blazer and current Boston Celtic attended a Black Lives Matter rally in Boston Sunday afternoon, and even took the microphone to say a few words. 

"Listen everybody, my name is Enes Kanter and I play for the Boston Celtics," said Kanter.

"First of all, I want to thank you all for what you're doing... I really, really appreciate it. The second thing I want to say, man; we need change and change cannot wait, you know? 

"I get emotional, but we are on the right side of history, man. You know what? Black lives matter, right? Let's go." 

He would tweet out a video of the speech, courtesy of WCVB-TV Boston, with the caption "BE ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF HISTORY."

He later took part in an "I can't breathe" chant: The last words of George Floyd whose death in police custody sparked nationwide protests and riots against police brutality.

This isn't the first time Kanter has stood up for what he feels is right.

Kanter, a Turkish native, has been an outspoken criticizer of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, to the point the Turkish government revoked his passport in 2017 and has accused him of being a terrorist by issuing an international arrest warrant. 

"There are thousands of people getting killed, raped. It’s really sad to see all this," said Kanter when he returned back to the United States after being detained in Romania while on a world tour for his charitable foundation. 

"My friends’ family are in jail. I hope the world is watching this. I want people to do something about it. A lot of people are awaiting help. (We need to) Definitely do something against the Erdogan government. I love Turkey, I love my country, but I’m just trying to speak up and be the voice of the innocent people.”

The revoked passport has caused Kanter to not travel for road games against the Toronto Raptors. 

Kanter's own parents were forced to publicly disown him through a Turkish publication back in 2016. 

“As soon as they are in contact with me, they’d put them in jail,” Kanter said in 2017.

Kanter told E:60's Jeremy Schaap last season that if he were to return to Turkey, he would be killed. Former NBA-player and current Turkish government official Hedo Turkoglu called Kanter a "terrorist organization supporter" during the same episode. 

The Turkish government even shut down a free summer basketball camp Kanter was going to hold in New York last summer by having the Turkish Consulate in New York threaten the Islamic Center of Long Island if it hosted Kanter’s event.

If Kanter will continue to stand up to the Turkish government, you best believe he will keep that same energy spreading his values here in the United States, as well. 

Enes Kanter to join WWE after he retires from basketball

Enes Kanter to join WWE after he retires from basketball

During his short stint in Portland, Enes Kanter talked about professional wrestling many times after shootaround and practice. He even joked about what his WWE name would be some day.  

Now, Kanter is letting the world know that he has a plan to join the WWE once he retires from the NBA.

The former Trail Blazers big man told The Athletic’s Shams Charania in a recent interview that he has been offered a contract from the WWE.

I’m definitely becoming a WWE wrestler for sure. I actually already have this offers from WWE, but like, I gotta finish my basketball career first. After I’m done, I’m most likely becoming one.” -- Former Portland Trail Blazers big man Enes Kanter

At just 27-years-old, Kanter has plenty of time before transitioning to pro wrestling.

Plus, he already has some experience in the WWE world. Last September, Kanter became the WWE 24/7 Champion when he beat R-Truth.

Kanter's interview with The Athletic wasn’t just about professional wrestling.

There was some Lillard Time as well.   

The current Boston Celtics center was quick to let Charania know that Damian Lillard’s ‘wave’ game-winner over Paul George to defeat the Oklahoma City Thunder in five games and advance to the Western Conference Semifinals was his favorite NBA moment of all-time.

“Last year’s Dame’s shot for sure,” Kanter said. “That’s, like, my favorite moment of my whole basketball career.”

Same, Enes. Same. 

Be sure to check out the latest Talkin’ Blazers Podcast with hosts NBA Champion Channing Fry and Emmy Award winner Dan Sheldon along with special guest former Portland Trail Blazer Steve Blake.

Social media reacts to Blazers-Nuggets 4OT Game 3 again and... all the feels

Social media reacts to Blazers-Nuggets 4OT Game 3 again and... all the feels

Now that was fun!

It was sixty-eight minutes of basketball that became an instant classic last season. 

And really how great was it re-watching the Trail Blazers and Nuggets quadruple-overtime Game 3 from May 3rd of last year?

As if watching the game again wasn't exciting enough, it was also fun seeing Trail Blazers shooting guard Anfernee Simons takeover the Trail Blazers Twitter account.

 

It’s hard to believe that it has been 13 days since the NBA was suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Not surprising -- Trail Blazers fans were elated to watch their hometown team once again.  

And, we all learned that the youngster Simons was kind enough to teach Rodney Hood such a nice floater. [Insert laughing/crying emoji here].

With Denver winning the season series last year against Portland, 3-1 and all four games were decided by single digits, it shouldn't have been shocking that these two would play extra basketball. 

But, seeing the injured Zach Collins (left shoulder) and Rodney Hood (left Achilles) on the court was giving Rip City all the feelings.

 

Trail Blazers fans were also missing the team chemistry and continuity.

And what about the Enes Kanter and Nikola Jokic battles?

Jokic finished with 33 points and played the most minutes out of anyone with 65 minutes. He also had 18 rebounds and 14 assists. 

While Kanter held his ground. The Blazers starting center had 18 points and on 8-of-16 shooting to go along with 15 rebounds.

Kanter's three-point highlight video even got a retweet from Kanter! See even the former players were happy to look back at this game.

There were also plenty of #3J moments as well. CJ McCollum led all scorers with 41 points. It was late in the game and in the overtime periods when McCollum was in total takeover mode. He also added eight rebounds and four assists.

And on Tuesday night, everybody was showing their appreciation for McCollum's Game 3 performance. 

 

You can’t forget about Headband Moe though. Maurice Harkless finished with a double-double of 15 points and 10 rebounds.

 

 

But, let’s be honest the tweets were coming in hot down the stretch and into the FOUR overtimes.

 

Trail Blazers fans were reliving all the nerves of this one. 

Playing in a quadruple overtime game, the minds and legs were starting to go… And then… It was a fresh Rodney Hood to the rescue who led the final charge coming off the bench in the final OT to boost Portland to a 140-137 victory.

 

 

Hoodie finished with 19 points on an efficient 6-of-8 shooting. Hood had scored 16 points total in Portland's first round series against Oklahoma City. 

 

But in watching the re-air, it was just nice to see him out on the court, period. 

Damian Lillard's wave still sticks with Enes Kanter

Damian Lillard's wave still sticks with Enes Kanter

Besides Seth Curry, big man Enes Kanter is the only recent former Trail Blazer who has returned to Portland healthy enough to play this season.

That night came Tuesday at Moda Center, where Kanter came off the bench for the Boston Celtics. This season, the former Blazers big man is averaging 8.8 points and 8.0 rebounds in 18.1 minutes of action.

Kanter got a well received ovation in his return at the 5:01 mark of the first quarter. Blazers fans greeted him with loud cheers. 

As Rip City often does, both fans in Moda Center and on social media welcomed Kanter back with open arms, even though he played in just 39 total games for Portland.

There are a lot of reasons why it may seem like Kanter was a Trail Blazer for longer than he actually was last season. Maybe it was witnessing him step up late in the year, particular in the postseason after Jusuf Nurkic went down, or watching him play through shoulder pain in the playoffs, or the fact that he really seemed to embrace Portland.

Kanter had a big smile on his face thinking about how the Rip City faithful showered him with love as if he had been a longtime Blazer.

“I was only here for like maybe a half year, right? But, I feel like I’d been here for like whatever years… I give credit to the fans because the fans just always been amazing, cheering for me, supporting me,” Kanter said.

The Trail Blazers signed Kanter as a free agent in mid-February last season, but for Kanter, it doesn’t matter how much time he spent with the Blazers, he will always hold Portland in high regards.

“It was just good to be back,” Kanter said postgame. “Just seeing all this crowd, because this is the craziest crowd in the NBA, one of the craziest crowds. It was just fun to come back and see this atmosphere and to see my old teammates.”

Following the Celtics win, Kanter headed over towards the Blazers bench to talk with his former teammates and former coaching staff. Zach Collins was one of the first to embrace Kanter after Tuesday’s game.

As for catching up with his former teammates and coaches, Kanter said, “it was amazing.”  

The 9-year vet feels like he really went to battle with his Blazer teammates last season before falling to the Warriors in the Western Conference Finals.

“Obviously, I went to the playoffs last year with them and it was like a war, and you never forget your friends when you’re in the war with them. It was nice to see them,” Kanter said.

But, it was Portland’s first round match-up against the Oklahoma City Thunder that Kanter will truly never forget.

In fact, it was the first memory that popped into his head when he walked into the quiet, still Moda Center.

Yep, that Damian Lillard game-winning shot over Paul George.

That unforgettable shot is something Kanter was extremely happy to be a part of.

This morning, the first time I came to [Moda Center] for practice, I [thought about] the Dame shot against OKC. I was like, ‘man, I was here for that shot. So, for me, it was just amazing to just be in that moment with those guys, that’s the first thing I remembered. -- Celtics center Enes Kanter reminiscing about his time in Portland  

That Game Five was even more memorable for Kanter, because well before Lillard swished the 37-foot game winner to give the Blazers a 118-115 victory and end the series, Kanter separated his left shoulder during a collision with Steven Adams.

Still to this day, Kanter has shoulder pain, but he wouldn’t change a thing about playing through the pain in the Blazers-Nuggets and Blazers-Warriors series.

“I was at the hotel today and thinking about my shoulder and it’s been almost one year, I still feel it a little bit. But, you know what -- it was just, I don’t regret it. It was just -- we’re deep into the playoffs and, for me; it was just go out there and fight for my teammates.”

As Portland continues to play through so many injuries this season, Kanter has been encouraged by what the Blazers have been able to accomplish.

“It’s always tough, man, because I feel like the most important thing for a team is staying healthy, but now, they’ve got so many people hurt, but I think, you know, they’ve been still doing an amazing job, giving a fight out there.”

Here's where to go if you're looking to place blame for Trail Blazers' rough start

Here's where to go if you're looking to place blame for Trail Blazers' rough start

PHOENIX – The Trail Blazers have struggled through the early season and a segment of the fan base is always looking to blame someone.

And rather than simply looking at the injury list and being done with it, they’re trying to blame just about everyone but Blaze the Trail Cat.

What I’m hearing a lot is the idea that the team should have held on to Meyers Leonard, Maurice Harkless and Al-Farouq Aminu. And should not have “let go” of Enes Kanter and Seth Curry.

I’ve dealt with this before, but this seems like a good time to go over it again.

First, let’s differentiate between trades and free agency. Kanter and Curry were free agents last summer and it wasn't a matter of the team "letting them go." The Trail Blazers knew they would be priced out of the market for Curry, who had a very good season with Portland. He eventually re-signed with Dallas, where he played before he became a Trail Blazer, for $32 million over four years. That was out of Portland’s reach, since all it could offer was the taxpayer mid-level exception of $5.7 million.

Kanter was given the first call by Neil Olshey last summer at the onset of free agency and he vacillated on his decision to take the TMLE. So, Portland went to its second choice, Rodney Hood, who had been off to a career year before suffering a season-ending injury. A good move, obviously … and Kanter ended up signing with Boston for about a million bucks less than he would have made in Portland.

Now, let’s get to the other three players. Harkless and Leonard went to Miami in a deal for Hassan Whiteside, who is in the final season of his contract. Whiteside was brought in to give the Trail Blazers a replacement at center for Jusuf Nurkic, who isn’t expected back until sometime in the new year. Bazemore, also on an expiring deal, came in a trade with Atlanta for Evan Turner.

Both those deals allowed Portland to preserve cap space for one more big trade – hopefully for a major star making a lot of money with multiple years left on his deal. Since the Blazers have had little luck luring free agents to town, the idea of making a deal for a big-time player who would be under their contractual control for a while, is the next best thing.

And it's also a big (and expensive) commitment to building a team that can compete for a championship.

OK, that said, those trades have turned out just fine for Portland and I’m tired of hearing how much the departed players have been missed. I’m not knocking them in any way, but the fact is, what came in return has been very good for this team.

Whiteside has averaged 16.2 points. 12.4 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 2.4 blocked shots per game this season. Leonard, Harkless and Aminu (who is now hurt) have COMBINED for 15.9 points, 12.6 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.5 blocks per game this season.

And oh yes, a player by the name of Carmelo Anthony was added to the mix a while back – amidst all sorts of pleas from fans begging them not to do it because of fears about the bad raps that have dogged Anthony,

But so far, Anthony has been a solid player who has blended seamlessly with his new teammates. And, of course, he’s given the team 16.3 points, 5.9 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game.

So, this all leads back to the original point. If you have trouble figuring out what’s wrong with your Trail Blazers, look no further than that injury report – which features Zach Collins, Hood and Nurkic.

That’s this team’s entire starting front court. And they are most certainly missed more than the players who were traded away.

Enes Kanter is reportedly heading to Boston

Enes Kanter is reportedly heading to Boston

As first reported by The Athletic’s Shams Charania, unrestricted free agent center Enes Kanter is signing a two-year, $10 million deal with the Boston Celtics.

According to the report, Kanter will also have a player option in the second year of the deal.

Before free agency tipped off on Sunday, the Blazers and Celtics were the two teams reported to be interested in the 27-year-old’s services.

Kanter has confirmed the deal by giving a big shout-out to his agent Hank Fetic on twitter.

Kanter became a reliable starting center for the Trail Blazers this past season after Jusuf Nurkic’s season-ending leg injury.

Portland went 18-5 in the 23 regular-season games that Kanter was on the floor. He averaged 13.1 points and 8.6 rebounds a night for the Blazers while shooting 57.7 percent from the field.

Kanter quickly became a fan favorite in Portland, but with the trade for Hassan Whiteside, it was clear the Blazers were not going in a different direction.

According to ESPN’s Marc Spears, Kanter felt pressure to make a decision quickly with the Blazers.

Kanter signed with the Blazers in February after reaching a buyout with the Knicks.

He will now join the fifth team of his career. He was selected as the No. 3 overall pick by the Utah Jazz in 2011.

Most-likely Trail Blazer free-agent target: Enes Kanter

Most-likely Trail Blazer free-agent target: Enes Kanter

Free agency opens in the NBA Sunday afternoon and the Portland Trail Blazers, already into the luxury tax and with just the $5.7 million taxpayer mid-level to spend, are taking a knife into a gunfight.

There are hundreds of millions of dollars in cap space and exceptions out there, including 17 max-contract slots and really only about 10 top-tier free agents to fill them. Just like the summer of 2016, there are likely to be a lot of players overpaid this time around.

That doesn’t bode well for the Trail Blazers.

But keep in mind, just a couple of weeks ago, Portland had the 25th pick in the draft and Evan Turner. Since then, the Blazers have drafted Nassir Little, a consensus lottery pick, and traded Turner for Kent Bazemore, a defender with three-point shooting skill. So the summer is already off to a successful start.

It makes sense that while the Lakers, Clippers, Warriors, Knicks, Celtics and Raptors are fighting over the big names Sunday, the Trail Blazers will be going about their business trying to tie up one of their own free agents for that $5.7 million slot. Enes Kanter and Rodney Hood are much more likely to sign with the Blazers than most other free agents because they had a taste of Portland last season. They were comfortable with the system, their teammates, the culture of the franchise and the winning that they experienced last year.

Of those two, the most likely Portland target would be Kanter, who was originally acquired to be a backup center to Jusuf Nurkic, but became a solid starting center through the team’s run to the Western Conference finals. Kanter spoke highly of his time with the Blazers and he is shaping up as the team’s No. 1 target in free agency, to continue to fill Nurkic's spot. Hood would have been a top target until Bazemore was obtained, but there is a duplication of skills there with Bazemore.

That would leave the team’s expiring contracts free to be used later in a deal for a more high-profile player.

The Blazers will also need a minimum salary player to fill out the roster and Neil Olshey usually has that player identified early. Last year, you remember, he signed Nik Stauskas July 5 and added Seth Curry July 6.

Here’s a look at free-agent scenarios for the Trail Blazers:

BEST CASE: Enes Kanter doesn’t get some extravagant offer out of the gate from another team. If it’s close, I think there’s a good chance he’d choose Portland. But asking him to turn down big money over multiple seasons would not be fair. Best case – the popular center from Turkey will be back. With the team already in the luxury tax, I would expect Al-Farouq Aminu to be gone, with his market value somewhere around $10 million a year. Second-year guard Anfernee Simons is scheduled to move up into Seth Curry’s spot in the rotation and with Curry’s price going up, he will not be back, either. That leaves restricted free agent Jake Layman and the best-case scenario is that he doesn’t get an offer above $3-$4 million a year, and the team would probably match and bring him back.

WORST CASE: Kanter gets an offer of $40 million over four years from somebody and accepts it, leaving Portland to search for another center to hold down the fort for Nurkic. Then Aminu doesn’t find an offer at his asking price and the team re-signs him – which would probably end up with him starting again this season, effectively blocking Zach Collins from a starting role. I don’t expect that to happen, but it is the worst-case scenario long-term, for this team. Then Portland ends up having to fight teams with a lot more money for a free agent to fill that taxpayer mid-level slot. The end result of that would probably be having to pay a $3 million player $5.7 million to sign here.

Enes Kanter's comments on Zion Williamson don't sit well with Julius Randle

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USA Today Images

Enes Kanter's comments on Zion Williamson don't sit well with Julius Randle

Trail Blazers center Enes Kanter is known for being outspoken.

He’s been a longtime critic of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his authoritarian policies. Now, he’s speaking out about No. 1 pick Zion Williamson.

"I kind of feel like he's overhyped like he's Julius Randle with hops," Kanter told Colin Cowherd on his radio show The Herd on Wednesday.

Apparently Kanter’s red-hot take on Williamson did not sit well with Randle, who fired back in a post on Twitter.

Randle isn’t wrong. In a loss to the Trail Blazers in March, Randle did drop 45 points on Portland, but scored only two of those against Kanter out of six possessions.

It wasn’t enough to give the Pelicans a win, and Kanter made sure to point this out in his response.

While Kanter’s strong opinion of Williamson didn’t sit well with Randle, it wasn’t all shade.

"If he develops his shot, he definitely could become a Hall of Famer,” Kanter said of Williamson. “It's all in his hands. He just needs to put the work in and go out there and show the whole world."

Report: Blazers one of three teams interested in Enes Kanter

Report: Blazers one of three teams interested in Enes Kanter

Enes Kanter was acquired off of waivers late last season and quickly became a fan favorite in Rip City. He was a key big off the bench, and when Jusuf Nurkic went down with a gruesome leg injury, he was tasked with playing the starting center role on a team trying to lock in home court. 

He filled the role magnificently and was a huge reason the Blazers were able to make an improbable run to the Western Conference Finals. 

But now he enters the free-agent market and the Blazers may not have the money to keep him around. However, that isn't going to stop them from trying. 

According to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, the Trail Blazers are one of three teams said to be showing interest in Kanter.

The free agent signing period starts at 6 p.m ET on June 30th.  However, the Blazers will have a large hurdle in front of them - lack of cap space. 

The Blazers don't have any, and will only be allowed the taxpayer mid-level exception (TPMLE) to sign free agents with. The TPMLE is said to be worth around $5.7 million, which could be far below Kanter's open market value. Even if that is Kanter's value, the Blazers would have to decide if they want to pursue Kanter or fellow Portland free agents Rodney Hood and Seth Curry. 

If Kanter were to resign with the Blazers it would be a huge get, especially since there is no timetable for the return of starting center Jusuf Nurkic. Nurkic broke his leg against the Nets late in the season, and most people expect him to miss a large chunk of the upcoming season. For a team fresh off a deep playoff run, having a stopgap to help ease the pain while he recovers would be extremely valuable. 

The Blazers do have Zach Collin, Meyers Leonard, and Skal Labissiere on the roster, but Kanter would still be a smart free agent play. He adds depth in both the long term and short term, and certainly help the Blazers keep pace with last season's success until Nurkic is healthy. 

For what it's worth, the Lakers are also showing interest and Kanter is currently in Los Angeles... 

But he was there holding one of his 30 free basketball camps this summer. So chalk this one up to coincidence. 

Stay tuned to NBC Sports Northwest for all the latest free agent news as we approach the June 30th start date. 

Around the web: The best of Blazers social media

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NBCSNW

Around the web: The best of Blazers social media

Thanks to social media fans, get a glimpse into the true offseason from some of their favorite NBA players. From Enes Kanter's epic cheat meals, to a rookie learning tough lessons about Portland traffic, social media brought us along for the ride. Here are some of the best social media posts of the last week from your Portland Trail Blazers.