Ennis Kanter’s complicity NBA Boston Celtics Colin Kaepernick – Sportico.com

Anis Kanter Freedom believes his political activism prompted the National Basketball Association to disqualify him. Could the 29-year-old quarterback, who last season scored 11 points and 11 rebounds per game, have a viable case for collusion?

“It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out why I have so little playing time and get set free,” Freedom said. New York times last week. “But it takes people with a conscience to speak up and say this isn’t right.”

The Freedom’s 2021-22 season was the worst of his 11-year NBA career. After signing a one-year, $2.7 million contract with the Boston Celtics last August, the former Oklahoma City Thunder star is expected to join Robert Williams and Al Horford in a senior rotation. Instead, coach Emi Odoka kept Freedom on the bench.

In tweets, Freedom noted that his meager playing time reflected his punishment for being outspoken about human rights abuses in China and calling out Phil Knight, Michael Jordan and LeBron James over Nike’s ties to China. Freedom also called Chinese President Xi Jinping a “brutal dictator”. Chinese video streaming platform Tencent — which avoided broadcasting Houston Rockets and Philadelphia 76ers games due to Daryl Morey retweeting a pro-democracy message about Hong Kong in 2019 — has stopped broadcasting Celtics games.

Udoka dismissed Freedom’s hint, saying that “thinking about playing time is strictly based on basketball”. He added that Kanter’s lack of defensive prowess was a major factor.

On February 10, the Celtics traded Freedom as part of a multiplayer deal with the Rockets. The Rockets conceded Liberty four days later. Not addicted to another team.

As a sports topic, collusion was in the news due to the NFL’s suspicions of avoiding Colin Kaepernick who, like Freedom, has drawn attention for his political expression. In a complaint, the former San Francisco 49ers QB alleged that NFL owners conspired to disqualify him after he knelt during the national anthem. Kaepernick’s complaint was resolved in a settlement, but not before he beat the NFL in summary judgment (meaning he had enough evidence to convince an impartial arbitrator that he raised a real issue of material fact).

Collusion involves an agreement between two or more teams, or at least one team and the league, to deny a player the right to collective bargaining. Article XIV of the NBA’s Collective Bargaining Agreement contains an extensive anti-collusion policy. An NBA team’s “employees or agents” are prohibited from forming “any contracts, combinations or conspiracies, express or implied, with the NBA or any other NBA team or their employees or agents” to (among many other prohibited acts) “fail to offer a player contract with No free agent.

Allegations of collusion do not go to court nor are they heard publicly by a jury. Instead it is governed by a special grievance process supervised by an arbitrator.

Freedom (or the NBPA) can pursue a grievance within 90 days of the date Kanter knew, or reasonably should have known, that it had a claim. Failure to act within that time period will preclude filing a potential grievance.

Liberty would bear the heavy burden of proving collusion by a “clear preponderance of the evidence”. This burden is much higher than that used in civil trials, which require a preponderance of evidence (i.e. more likely than not), though less than the “beyond reasonable doubt” burden for a criminal conviction. The arbitrator could order discovery, which could entail sharing emails and taking testimonials from NBA owners and league officials.

Evidence is the biggest hurdle in proving collusion. The athlete must show that there is an agreement or understanding between multiple parties. Even if Freedom can definitively prove that different sets of teams don’t want him for business or PR reasons, it won’t prove collusion unless the teams cooperate.

Likewise, NBA teams seem to come to the same conclusion—they don’t want freedom—proving circumstance but not collusion. Liberty will need to show a concerted effort to keep him out. Barry Bonds lost a collusion complaint against Major League Baseball in part because an arbitrator found the circumstantial evidence insufficient.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver dismissed any suggestion of collusion as baseless. In an interview with timesSilver said he spoke with Freedom and “made it absolutely clear to him that it was his right to speak out about the issues he was passionate about.” Nor is it clear how a plot to exclude Freedom could silence him. Aside from NBA employment, Freedom has a large following on social media and has been interviewed about political matters on major TV shows.

However, Freedom’s absence from the NBA is surprising given his productive career and the large number of games that rotation players have missed this season due to injuries and COVID protocols. Freedom provides tremendous offensive value by securing additional possessions for his team. He finished in the top five in the NBA in four different offensive rebounds, including last season. Only Steven Adams has had a greater impact than Freedom on his team’s ability to secure rebounds when on the floor over the past five seasons, as measured by the average rebound rate regularly across the NBA’s shooting charts. The Freedom is also an efficient scorer, posting 1.03 points per possession in 2020-21, which ranks 11th among 30 players who have scored more than 100 times.

However, stats point to Freedom’s reputation as a bad defender being well deserved. Teams facing the Freedom have scored more points per possession with him in the game than they have scored with him off the bench in each of the past nine seasons, in the process of cleaning the glass.

Freedom’s unassuming jumping ability makes him a sub par edge protector. Last season, 42 players defended at least 250 shots at the rim, and the 65.3% percentage that opponents converted against the Freedom was the seventh-highest mark, extending a trend dating back to 2018.

All-in-One Benchmarks sees the Freedom production as that of a typical backup center. FiveThirtyEight’s RAPTOR software, which includes plus-minus data and tracking, pegs Kanter’s net effect on his team’s performance per 100 possessions at +0.3 over the past five seasons. This is well above the -2.75 that FiveThirtyEight considers a “Replacement Level Player” value. Likewise, 5-year RAPM and multi-year LEBRON both agree that Freedom likely won’t hurt its teams overall, rating it at +0.93 and +0.02, respectively.

Many other centers of similar age with inferior overall impact metrics still have standings in the NBA. However, it was unheard of for big guys in their late 20s struggling defensively only to suddenly find themselves out of the league. Just ask Kenneth Freed or Ryan Anderson.

Freedom wouldn’t be the first NBA player to claim financial injury due to alleged collusion.

Retired NBA player Craig Hodges recently confirmed that he was “suspended” from the NBA in the early 1990s due to his outspoken views on social policy. Hodges claims that the handwritten letter he delivered to then-President George H. W. Bush regarding race was seen as embarrassing the league, which in turn, he says, provoked “collusion”.

Decades ago, many rookies claimed complicity, but not because of exclusion. In the era of the pre-rookie pay scale, some rookies charged that their drafting teams rotated them at the league’s behest.

Suspicions of the NBA’s complicity emerged in unique scenarios. In 2009, the NBA took the unusual step of reminding teams of them could He signed former Portland Trail Blazers forward Darius Miles. At the time, the Trailblazers threatened to sue any team that signed the previous lottery pick. The Trailblazers received an exemption from the salary cap after Miles’ knee injuries were classified as career-ending, but the relief would have been jeopardized if Miles had resumed his NBA career. The NBA put the pioneers in their place.

The following year, on the heels of the Miami Heat compiling a super roster with LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, some wondered if the NBA players They were complicit.

His former Celtics team, Freedom, excelled in his absence, catapulting to first place in the Eastern Conference. But the C now need a position, with Williams suffering He tore the meniscus in his left knee on Sunday. Will the team contact Freedom? Chances are, he’ll have something to say about it one way or another.

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