Northwest Notes: Kanter, Chandler, Hayward, NBA Draft

Enes Kanter‘s current situation with Turkey makes the Thunder center a problematic asset to trade, Berry Tramel of The Oklahoman writes. Kanter returned to the United States earlier this week after he was detained in Romania following the revocation of his passport by his native country.

Kanter has been outspoken against Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and earlier today, it was announced that a warrant for his arrest was issued in his homeland. Kanter was accused of belonging to a “terror group” which could be related to his past support of Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen.

This is all part of Tramel’s point: Kanter — while not ideal for today’s style of play — is still a capable player who can help a team but his political issues make him a potential liability. The 6’11”, 245-pound Kanter posted serviceable totals of 14.3 PPG and 6.7 RPG in 72 games on a Thunder team that was led by possible 2016/17 NBA MVP Russell Westbrook.

Yet, an arrest warrant in a country considered a U.S. ally off the court and an unconventional skill set on the court could make Kanter a tough sell this offseason.

Here are additional notes around the Northwest Division:

  • Also from The Oklahoman, Brett Dawson examines the Thunder’s options as the NBA Draft approaches next month. Oklahoma City owns the No.21 overall pick in a deep draft class but will have several options; with Westbrook on board, Dawson says one direction team could go in is acquiring a talented veteran to pair with the Thunder superstar.
  • Jazz forward Gordon Hayward will have a big choice this offseason: re-sign with the Jazz or pursue his self-admitted goal of winning a championship elsewhere. As Kincade Upstill of Deseret News writes, Hayward has been a fixture of Utah’s success and a huge reason why the team reached the second round of the playoffs this season. His teammates, the team, and the fans want him to return — and the Jazz can offer him the most significant dollars. However, it will ultimately be up to Hayward where he wants to be next season.
  • Nuggets forward Wilson Chandler has parted ways with the Jay-Z-led Roc Nation and will be represented by Excel Sports moving forward, according to ESPN’s Chris Haynes (link via Twitter).
  • Trail Blazers reserve Pat Connaughton may be hanging up sneakers for cleats as the former fourth round pick in the 2014 MLB Draft could pursue a professional baseball career, Molly Blue of The Oregonian writes. Connaughton averaged 2.5 PPG as a backup point guard last season and if his NBA dream doesn’t show promise, he could change professions. The 24-year-old has been clocked at 90 mph on the diamond and the Orioles, the team that drafted him, would be happy to help him with the transition.
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