Speed Reads

silent treatment

The NBA isn't letting the press talk to Nets and Lakers players while they're in China

The Los Angeles Lakers and the Brooklyn Nets won't be taking any questions.

The NBA is canceling media access for the rest of its trip in China, ESPN reports, with this coming amid a firestorm sparked by the league's response to the Houston Rockets general manager's tweet in support of the Hong Kong protests.

"We have decided not to hold media availability for our teams for the remainder of our trip in China," the NBA said Friday. "They have been placed into a complicated and unprecedented situation while abroad and we believe it would be unfair to ask them to address these matters in real time."

This "complicated" situation began on Oct. 4 when Daryl Morey, general manager of the Houston Rockets, tweeted his support for the pro-democracy Hong Kong protests. The NBA subsequently distanced itself from Morey in a statement, drawing criticism that it was kowtowing to China. This prompted commissioner Adam Silver to insist the NBA supports Morey's freedom of speech, drawing additional ire from the Chinese government, with China's state TV network suspending broadcast of NBA pre-season games.

The Los Angeles Lakers and Brooklyn Nets are at the 2019 China Games in the midst of all this, with another game scheduled for Saturday. There was already no media availability at Thursday's game as the Chinese government demanded, but ESPN reports Friday's decision to shut it down for the rest of the trip is being made "independent of Chinese authorities."

This comes after a reporter asked Rockets stars James Harden and Russell Westbrook about the controversy after a game in Japan Thursday, only to be shut down. The NBA subsequently apologized, per The Hill, saying a spokesperson "inappropriately interjected" and that this was "inconsistent with how the NBA conducts media events." But now, the way they'll conduct media events, at least on the China trip, is not at all.