Thunder center Enes Kanter has been in headlines recently after he was detained in a Romanian airport, had his Turkish passport suspended, and had a warrant for his arrest issued in Turkey. On Friday, Kanter announced that his father, Mehmet, was arrested in his native country (link via Twitter).
Kanter has been outspoken against Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, calling him the “Hitler of our century” on multiple occasions. In a personal statement on his website, Kanter spoke about the severity of the situation and that his father’s arrest could be a prelude to other harsh action against Turkey’s people.
“My father is arrested because of my outspoken criticism of the ruling party. He may get tortured for simply being my family member,” Kanter wrote in the statement. “For a second please think and imagine, if something like this is happening to an NBA player, what is happening to the people with no voice or podium to speak on? There could be hundreds of thousands of people that are detained, tortured, or murdered that we are not hearing about.”
Kanter has stated that he has not spoken to his father in nearly two years; the Oklahoma City big supports Fethullah Gulen, a spiritual leader whom Turkey has blamed for an attempted military coup last year. Kanter also revealed last year his family disowned him due to his support of Gulen with his father apologizing “to the Turkish people and the president for having such a son.” This is a serious matter and one that will likely no be resolved anytime soon for Kanter.
- Brett Dawson of The Oklahoman writes that the Thunder should prioritize three-point shooting this offseason. OKC shot a league-worst 32.9 percent from the perimeter in the regular season and none of the team’s three best outside shooters (Alex Abrines, Jerami Grant and Doug McDermott) averaged 20 MPG. The key could be to give the Thunder’s best perimeter shooters more playing time next season and add better shooters, which would give Russell Westbrook a bigger arsenal of passing targets.
- Erik Horne of The Oklahoman writes that the internet and evolving culture in the NBA makes free agency less of a sure thing for teams. Horne notes that neither Golden State or Cleveland was able to attract mega free agents before Kevin Durant and LeBron James in recent years; Horne quotes Chris Webber who claims that teams with the reputation of being great destinations are no longer that way because of how players communicate. With free agency about a month ago, it will be key to watch how a smaller market team like the Thunder operate in a changing market.