We have ourselves an international incident in the NBA. The Houston Rockets, the team most closely tied to China thanks to Yao Ming’s historic success with the franchise, is in strange waters after general manager Daryl Morey tweeted a message of support for Hong Kong protestors, deleted the tweet, and got thrown all the way under the bus by his team’s governor and the league itself.
Since Morey’s tweet and Rockets governor Tilman Fertitta’s denunciation on Friday, the Chinese Basketball Association (now led by Yao, on paper at least) announced it won’t have anything to do with the Rockets going forward. Apparently, Chinese powerhouse media firm Tencent won’t be broadcasting Rockets games or acknowledging their existence. The Ringer’s John Gonzalez wrote that the Rockets were considering firing Morey over the tweet that, uh, said “Fight for Freedom, Stand With Hong Kong.”
Morey put out an apology on Sunday, and the NBA put out a statement, and James Harden told cameras in Tokyo (where the Rockets are playing the world champion Raptors twice this week in preseason action) that he “loves China.”
Reports suggest Morey will not be disciplined for sharing his opinion on the months-long protests, but Fertitta has declared the Rockets a “politics-free” franchise and the NBA’s timid response to the whole ordeal has the tone for everyone else in the league who might have thoughts on some of China’s other issues. Is this what anyone had in mind when the NBA broke into the Chinese market 20 years ago?
Elena is back
Elena Delle Donne came back from her herniated disc in Game 3 in the WNBA Finals, and the Mystics came back to pick up the win behind Kristi Tolliver and Emma Meessemann. Delle Donne played really well for being really limited. Her mere presence made everything make sense for Washington. Pretty deflating performance for the Sun at home, though. They’ll try to even up the series on Thursday while the Stics will try to clinch a title.
The Raptors gave Kyle Lowry a 1-year, $31 million extension, which means the Raptors are either going to run it back for one season or want to add a touch more value to Lowry’s deal above that of a rental if they go to trade him at midseason.
Bradley Beal critiques the NBA for not supporting the WNBA more.
The NBA isn’t letting teams scout LaMelo Ball or R.J. Hampton’s team practices, including a practice by Hampton’s Aussie league team in Memphis this week.
Javonte Green had a good preseason debut for the Celtics. He had never been to an NBA game before.
And finally: six teams who may go under their project win totals.
Be excellent to each other.