NBA free agent center Enes Kanter Freedom was waived by the Rockets on Feb. 14 and has yet to find a new home.
The 29-year-old spent the first half of the season with the Celtics, often speaking out against the NBA and Lakers forward LeBron James for continuing to do business with China amid the country’s ongoing genocide against Muslim Uyghurs. For doing so, Kanter Freedom told the New York Times Thursday via text that it’s easy to understand why he was released.
“It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize why I got little playing time and was released,” Kanter Freedom said. “But it does take people with a conscience to speak out and say it’s not right.”
NBA commissioner Adam Silver refuted Kanter Freedom’s claim and said he spoke with him during the season and expressed his support for Freedom and his right to speak on issues he believes in.
“We spoke directly about his activities this season,” Silver said. “And I made it absolutely clear to him that it was completely within his right to speak out on issues that he was passionate about.”
Silver added that the NBA isn’t the only company that does business in China, yet the league is the one being singled out.
“Virtually every major U.S. company,” Silver said. “So then the question becomes, ‘why is the NBA being singled out as the one company that should now boycott China?’ It’s very difficult for the league to practice foreign policy.”
As for Kanter Freedom, his 11th season in the NBA saw him average a career-low 11.7 minutes on the floor. He averaged 3.7 PPG and 4.6 RPG as Boston’s backup center. In the 2020-21 season with the Trail Blazers, Kanter averaged 24.4 minutes a night with 11.2 PPG and 11.0 RPG.
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