SHENZHEN, China — Saturday’s game between the Los Angeles Lakers and Brooklyn Nets is still scheduled to be played to conclude the 2019 China Games. However, the teams involved won’t be talking about it.
The Nets’ 114-111 victory over the Lakers in Shanghai on Thursday was able to happen only with a stipulation by the Chinese government mandating that no media availability of any kind be held at the game and that NBA commissioner Adam Silver cancel his pregame news conference.
The league is adopting the same temporary policy for Saturday’s game in Shenzhen.
“We have decided not to hold media availability for our teams for the remainder of our trip in China,” the NBA announced in a statement 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.”
The league is making this decision independent of Chinese authorities, sources told ESPN.
Both the Nets and Lakers are free to conduct their own media availability, according to a league spokesman. However, this media policy was already discussed with players and representatives from the NBA players’ association, according to a league source, so the motivation to operate outside of the league’s guidelines is negligible.
Saturday’s game will be played approximately 20 miles from Hong Kong, which could cause tensions to rise in relations between the NBA and China considering that Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey’s since-deleted tweet supporting Hong Kong protesters sparked the current unrest that exists between the sides.