Knicks center Enes Kanter was still fuming a day after his ejection in Milwaukee, calling his combatant, Giannis Antetokounmpo, “childish,” mockingly branding him “the golden child’’ and demanding the NBA fine Bucks assistant coach Darvin Ham for his role in Thursday’s fracas.
According to a source, the NBA would look into the Ham-Antetokounmpo-Kanter dustup as it reviews all incidents when a coach runs onto the court during an altercation.
Kanter, in rare form following the Knicks’ practice at the University of Utah, also spoke carefully about his demotion, saying he’ll be fine only if the club starts to win with Luke Kornet as the new starting center.
With Kanter and Antetokounmpo nose-to-nose and exchanging words with 9:56 left in the fourth quarter, Ham was seen in one video angle sprinting onto the court, knocking into Kanter from behind before separating the two players. Kanter got ejected for two technical fouls in the Knicks’ 112-96 loss. The episode began when he knocked Antetokounmpo to the hardwood, slamming him in the face going for the ball.
Kanter, sporting tape over his left eye, which also was blackened, said Ham’s action could have touched off another fight — between him and the Bucks assistant.
“[Ham] should get fined,’’ Kanter said. “The NBA should fine him. He’s not my assistant coach, so he’s not allowed to touch me. You’re a Milwaukee Bucks assistant coach, so you’re allowed to touch the Bucks players. Not me. He can not be touching me. I could’ve just pushed him back and started another fight. But I don’t think the NBA wants that. He’s not my assistant coach. He’s not my friend. He’s not nobody.”
Kanter, who was still exploding with emotion Friday, will face his former team, the Jazz, on Saturday. Before he knocked down Antetokounmpo — a play that wasn’t ruled a foul — he had his eye bloodied by a Thon Maker elbow on the previous possession.
Antetokounmpo has a long history with the Knicks. He settled under Kristaps Porzingis when the Latvian dunked and tore his ACL last February. This Dec. 1, Antetokounmpo was furious at Mario Hezonja, saying he’d “punch him in the nut next time” after the Croatian had dunked on “The Greek Freak’’ and stepped over him.
Kanter took exception to Antetokounmpo’s threat.
“I was very pissed because what kind of player are you … did he not get any PR lesson?’’ Kanter said. “You cannot say to the media, ‘I’m going to punch somebody in the whatever.’ If you’re the best player in the world or the worst player in the world, you cannot be talking about my teammate like that. It’s very childish of him. He’s an MVP candidate. He’s a cool dude and carrying that franchise, but you can’t be talking about my teammates like that.’’
Kanter said he will appeal his fines from the ejection. The biggest issue Kanter had was Antetokounmpo made a beeline for him after the Knicks center had knocked him down and glared.
“He’s the golden boy,’’ said Kanter, who went nose-to-nose with LeBron James last season. “He’s the golden child. I’m not trying to fight against superstars and All-Stars. It just happens. If it was something else, I would’ve gone after somebody else. Obviously he’s the golden child and they gave me two technicals. OK. Whatever? I’m going to leave the management to take care of all that stuff.”