Enes Kanter oped not to travel with the Knicks to London, with NBA commissioner Adam Silver understanding the player’s decision.
LONDON — NBA commissioner Adam Silver declared player safety is his top priority after admitting it was “very unfortunate” Enes Kanter did not travel with the Knicks to London.
Knicks center Kanter opted against making the trip to the English capital due to safety fears amid tensions with Turkey president Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The dispute between the player and Erdogan stems in part from the player’s support of United States-based Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen, who the president accuses of being behind a failed attempt to overthrow the Turkish government — an allegation Gulen denies.
Kanter responded to a report that Turkish prosecutors were seeking an international arrest warrant for him by stating they “cannot present any single piece of evidence” of his alleged wrongdoing.
The NBA commissioner understands the difficult situation Kanter finds himself in, meaning he missed out on facing the Wizards at the O2 Arena on Thursday.
“My stance is that I think it’s very unfortunate that Enes Kanter is not here with the New York Knicks,” Silver said.
— Enes Kanter (@Enes_Kanter) 17 January 2019
“I understand his reasoning why he elected not to come. There was never a suggestion from the league that he was not welcome on this trip.
“We live in a world where these are significant issues that he’s dealing with and I recognize that as the NBA is a global business we have to pay attention.
“There’s nothing more important to me as commissioner than the security of our players, so we take very seriously the threats that he has received.”