Enes Kanter Freedom thinks there’s a connection between his free agency and his outspoken criticism of the NBA’s relationship with China.
“Free agency is open for one month. Normally, I should have already received offers,” Kanter said. “This summer I did not receive one single offer. The reason is that I spoke out against what is happening in China in recent months. The Chinese market is a big part of the NBA business. So, they will allow talking freely about anything you want until it hurts them financially. As soon as you do that, they will cut you. It is very sad and unacceptable.”
Kanter said that he knew this was a risk and it is not one he regrets taking.
“I knew there was a price to pay. And I don’t regret my actions. These things are bigger than me, bigger than the NBA, and bigger than basketball. While I am playing in the USA, people are being killed all over the world or imprisoned or tortured in prisons. If this is the sacrifice I need to make, I am ready to live with it,” Kanter said.
The 11-year NBA veteran has been critical of both the NBA and of LeBron James’ silence on human rights atrocities in China.
Kanter wore sneakers that trolled James — who was critical of Daryl Morey’s support for Hong Kong, and has a lot of business in China through sneakers and multimedia — as someone who bowed down to China’s chairman Xi Jinping and has also worn shoes supporting the Uyghurs, a Muslim minority that has been subject to slave labor and forced sterilizations in China.
In January, Kanter told Fox News that a teammate of James had actually approached him and told him to keep the heat on the superstar.
Last season, in 35 games with the Celtics, Kanter averaged 11.7 minutes, 3.7 points and 4.6 rebounds per game in a reserve role. In February, the Celtics traded Kanter to the Rockets, and he was immediately waived.
Reached by The Post, an NBA spokesperson referred us to prior comments made by NBA officials.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver, speaking with the New York Times this past March, denied that Kanter is being blackballed.
“We spoke directly about his activities this season,” Silver said at the time. “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.”
In May, NBA Spokesman Mike Bass concurred, telling Yahoo Sports, “We have always supported and will continue to support every member of the NBA family, including Enes Freedom, expressing their personal views on social and political issues.”