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The NBA announced it has cancelled all media events involving the Los Angeles Lakers and Brooklyn Nets while the teams are in China for their preseason matchups.
The teams played Thursday in Shanghai and are set for another game Saturday in Shenzhen. The first game also included no media access, but that apparently was put into motion by the Chinese government. The latest decision to eliminate media access was made independently by the NBA, according to reports.
“We have decided not to hold media availability for our teams for the remainder of our trip in China,” the league said in a statement. “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.”
Per the Los Angeles Times, the players are free to speak to the media on their own, “independent of the NBA.”
The NBA and China are trying to repair a relationship that became strained after Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey tweeted support of democracy-fueled protests in Hong Kong.
Since that time, Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr, San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich and several others have sidestepped questions related to the controversy.
Some teams have given their players and coaches canned responses when asked questions about China, according to Amico Hoops sources.
Shenzen is about 20 miles from Hong Kong and will be the closest NBA teams have come to the center of the controversy.