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no chance

NBA commissioner Adam Silver says China asked for Daryl Morey's firing

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver says China wanted Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey fired over his Hong Kong tweet, but China is already denying it.

Silver spoke Thursday amid the ongoing controversy that began when Morey earlier this month tweeted his support for the pro-democracy, anti-Beijing Hong Kong protests. The NBA immediately distanced itself from his tweet in a statement, prompting criticism that it was kowtowing to the Chinese government due to the league's business in China.

Following that criticism, Silver defended Morey's freedom of speech, and he spoke further about the situation on Thursday, explaining that "we were being asked to fire [Morey], by the Chinese government, by the parties we dealt with, government and business,” The Washington Post reports. He added, "We said there's no chance that's happening."

But Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang claims there's no chance the request itself happened, saying the "Chinese government never posed this requirement," The Associated Press reports.

Silver also said Thursday the NBA's initial statement calling Morey's tweet regrettable was "misinterpreted," since it was referring to "the fact that we'd upset our Chinese fans" and "there was no regret directed to the [Chinese] government." China's state broadcaster in the aftermath of the tweet suspended the broadcast of NBA games, with Silver saying Thursday the "financial consequences have been and may continue to be fairly dramatic."