Enes Kanter Freedom on NBA, EuroLeague, naturalized players

By Johnny Askounis/ [email protected]

Free agent Enes Kanter Freedom reiterated he does not want to retire but feels excluded from the list of NBA and also Turkish Airlines EuroLeague teams.

Freedom, 30, during a visit to Israel talked to local outlet Walla. The discussion went from missing out on offers during the NBA free-agency period to EuroLeague and the Turkey national team using naturalized players such as Shane Larkin.

“Free agency is open for one month. Normally, I should have already received offers. This summer I did not receive one single offer,” he noted updating his NBA status, roughly translated with a helping hand from Google, “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 its hurts them financially. As soon as you do that, they will cut you. It is very sad and unacceptable.”

“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,” he added, “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.”

Shifting back to his career, he has been a free agent since being waived by the Houston Rockets in February. Logging 807 games played in the NBA between the Utah Jazz, Oklahoma City Thunder, New York Knicks, Portland Trail Blazers, and Boston Celtics depict the picture of the last decade.

“I am 30 years old. I can play another five or six years. I don’t intend to retire,” he explained once more, “I can’t go back to Turkey, that would be a one-way ticket.”

“Keep in mind that I can’t enter Turkey and that Turkish Airlines is the name sponsor of EuroLeague,” he expanded on potentially exploring options outside of the NBA.

“Honestly, I have loved Panathinaikos for many years. As a child, I watched many of their games and of Maccabi Tel Aviv,” Freedom resurfaced his connection to the Greek giant putting the Israeli powerhouse in the discussion as well.

From there, replying to a question on the Turkey senior national team, he stood against naturalized stars playing over local talent.

“A kid works his whole life and goes through so many levels to reach the senior national team. And then you bring in American players and pay them millions of dollars,” he shared his view, “I am not totally against it. But you are pushing your guy out. Your own kid, who dreamed of playing for his country and is loyal. And this team plays with the country’s flag on the jerseys.”

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