NBA Cancels Scheduled Media Availability For Lakers, Nets During 2019 China Games
Lakers-court
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

In an attempt to expand one of their biggest global markets, the NBA scheduled a multitude of 2019 preseason games in China, including a doubleheader series between the Los Angeles Lakers and Brooklyn Nets.

However, a recent tweet from Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey has caused major controversy between the league and China.

Morey’s tweet was a reference to human rights protests happening in Hong Kong and it caused China to cancel any and all Rockets-based media coverage, including the ability to stream their games. This led to confusion from the Lakers and Nets as both teams made the trip unsure if their series would even happen.

Despite the cancellation of several NBA Cares events, the game went on as scheduled where the Nets beat the Lakers, 114-111 in Shanghai.

Now, with the second game taking place early Saturday morning in Los Angeles, the NBA has decided to once again cancel all originally planned media availability for the teams, via Tania Ganguli of Los Angeles Times:

However, the NBA made it clear that it does not mean that teams cannot hold their own media time. It’s simply the pre-scheduled availability that was set by the league has been canceled:

Ganguli also announced that while the league is allowing teams to host their own media time, neither team is currently planning on doing so:

Not having media availability is likely a smart move considering the issues that have arisen with questions being asked about the controversy with China. Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr, Russell Westbrook, and James Harden have all already had to glance off questions to avoid upsetting the league’s largest international market.

Much like the Shanghai game, it will likely still go on as planned. Hopefully, it can bring the same intrigue as the last one and the Lakers can avoid placing themselves in the middle of a global stand-off.