In February, Boston traded Kanter Freedom to Houston, which promptly waived him, leading to speculation that he would never play basketball in the United States again. Although he maintains that his lack of a new contract is political, others insist that comparisons to former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who is unable to find a job after deciding to kneel for the national anthem, are not accurate.

“I don’t think he won’t get a job because of anything he’s said or done,” one NBA team executive said. “I think he just doesn’t guard, and the game is changing. He plays a lot older than he really is.”

For the first time since 2014, Kanter Freedom was not playing in the postseason. He has, instead, become an increasingly political figure, expanding his activism to a number of causes. He was recently in New York, attending a book party for American financier and Vladimir Putin foe Bill Browder. As the Celtics faced the New York Nets in the playoffs’ first round, he was in Washington, D.C., for the White House Correspondents’ Association gala, at one point posing for a photograph with White House press secretary Jen Psaki.

Instead of trying to shut down Kyrie Irving of the Brooklyn Nets — the Celtics’ first-round playoff draw — he met with Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Blinken’s predecessor, Mike Pompeo, as well as with CIA Director William Burns. Encouraged by Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter, he pleaded with the billionaire to buy the NBA as well.

The Nets would have presented Kanter Freedom with an especially compelling target. Team owner Joseph Tsai is close to China’s political ruling class and has been deemed “the NBA’s unofficial spokesman for China’s government.” Last year, Kanter Freedom called him a puppet of Beijing. This year, he had to watch Tsai’s squad suffer a 4-0 sweep at the hands of Boston on television.