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Enes Kanter Freedom Says He Wants to Play Another 6 or 7 Years in NBA

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVApril 6, 2022

American basketball player Enes Kanter Freedom speaks during an interview with AFP at the United Nations Office in Geneva on April 5, 2022. - Enes Kanter Freedom, whose human rights advocacy has ruffled feathers, hopes to bend UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet's ear on Thursday about her forthcoming China visit. (Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP) (Photo by FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP via Getty Images)
FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP via Getty Images

Enes Kanter Freedom has remained unsigned since the Houston Rockets released him in February after acquiring him via trade from the Boston Celtics, but he still plans on playing for the foreseeable future.

"I averaged [a] double-double last year and people know I can still go out there and play," he said, per Robin Millard of the Agence France-Presse. "I'm 29, and I plan to play another six or seven years in the league because my body feels healthy and I love basketball."

As Millard noted, Freedom has been a vocal critic of China's treatment of the Uyghur Muslim and Tibetan populations, and he believes that is one reason he is not currently in the NBA.

"I do believe that yes, they are punishing me in a way, and making sure every other athlete sees what I am going through so they won't talk about the issues that are happening in China," he said.

While Freedom did average a double-double of 11.2 points and 11.0 rebounds last season for the Portland Trail Blazers, he has long been known as a poor defender despite his rebounding ability.

He brings little lateral quickness to the table, struggles defending the pick-and-roll and is a matchup problem against bigs who can put the ball on the floor and create their own shots. 

In 2018, Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker responded to a barb from Freedom by saying an effective play call is to "Pick n Roll at 00 every time."          

Book @DevinBook

πŸ€¦πŸ½β€β™‚οΈ β€œPick n Roll at 00 every time” <a href="https://t.co/riaizpFpZV">https://t.co/riaizpFpZV</a>

Freedom has played 11 seasons in the NBA, and his defensive box plus/minus ranking has never been positive a single time, per Basketball Reference.

In 35 games for the Celtics this season, he averaged just 3.7 points and 4.6 boards per game. Those totals were well below his numbers in 2020-21, and he was largely unplayable for stretches and certain matchups because of his defensive deficiencies.

However, if a team takes a chance on him, he believes he can continue playing for the next six to seven years.