LONDON — Enes Kanter’s absence from the New York Knicks’ journey to the UK amid claims he fears assassination by the authorities in his native Turkey is “very unlucky,” NBA commissioner Adam Silver mentioned Thursday.
The 26-year-old middle missed Thursday’s regular-season recreation towards the Washington Wizards at London’s 02 Area, insisting he’s “trapped” in america due to his vocal criticism of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Turkish prosecutors are in search of a global arrest warrant for New York Knicks middle Enes Kanter, accusing him of membership in a terror group.
Earlier this week, prosecutors from Turkey, which cancelled Kanter’s passport in 2017 due to his public backing of Erdogan’s political foe Fethullah Gulen, issued a global warrant for Kanter’s arrest.
“The Turkish authorities may be very well-known for looking down individuals who discuss towards the federal government and Erdogan,” Kanter advised the BBC forward of Thursday’s recreation.
Silver maintains the NBA stays supportive of Kanter’s choice to stay in america moderately than journey to Europe.
“I perceive his reasoning why he elected not to come,” Silver mentioned. “Definitely there was by no means a suggestion from the league that he was not welcome to come on this journey. However we reside in a world the place these are points that he’s dealing with. And I acknowledge that for the NBA, as a result of we’re a worldwide enterprise, we have now to listen to these points as effectively.
“There may be nothing extra essential to me because the commissioner of the league than the safety and security of our gamers. We take critically the threats that he is obtained, even when it is simply individuals on social media. I assist Enes as a participant on this league and I assist the platform that gamers have to communicate out on points.”
Talking to media forward of the Wizards-Knicks recreation within the British capital, Silver floated the concept of opening discussions with the Gamers Affiliation over a future shift within the construction of the NBA marketing campaign that may open up the opportunity of in-season tournaments in Europe, Asia or Latin America.
He confirmed that Europe’s quota of regular-season contests is probably going to stay at one for the 2019-20 marketing campaign, however Paris’ renovated Bercy Area may supplant London as its host.
“We have performed many exhibition video games in Paris through the years,” Silver mentioned. “I keep in mind being there with Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls. There was large pleasure round that group, and I feel it would proceed to be an essential market.
“We took plenty of years off as a result of, in fact, the world was being renovated. I have never but been to the brand new Bercy Area, however I hear it is implausible. I am wanting ahead to going again to Paris.”
Though India will obtain its first style of NBA basketball when the Sacramento Kings meet the Indiana Pacers in two preseason video games at Mumbai’s NSCI Dome on Oct. Four-5, it stays impossible that both India or China will get regular-season matchups within the close to future.
A give attention to participant welfare surrounding the lengthy journey required, and the chance to construct in outreach actions, imply non-competitive contests appear a greater possibility, Silver underlined.
“In a market like India, the place we have by no means actually performed a preseason recreation, there is not actually a problem the place persons are saying to us, ‘This has actually bought to be a [regular-season] fixture,” Silver mentioned. “They settle for that this can be a distinctive expertise for 2 NBA groups to be making the journey.
“In China, it is primarily been the identical. It isn’t that they would not choose that we come with regular-season video games. There may be recognition that we have now a really lengthy season and if we had been to change the components from preseason to common season, it will considerably shorten the journeys as a result of there would not be as a lot time on the bottom.”