When the Los Angeles Lakers made their original schedule for their preseason trip to China to take on the Brooklyn Nets in two preseason games, both organizations were slated to have NBA Cares events in the country during their time there.
Both of those events have now officially been cancelled, according to multiple reports:
The NBA says this afternoon’s NBA Cares event with the Lakers has been canceled. While they didn’t provide further details, I’d suspect the same scenario from yesterday unfolded, when the Chinese government canceled the NBA Cares event with the Nets.— Tania Ganguli (@taniaganguli) October 9, 2019
Just like with the Nets yesterday, the Lakers have now had their NBA Cares event canceled here in Shanghai today. The event was supposed to benefit Special Olympics.— Rachel Nichols (@Rachel__Nichols) October 9, 2019
The Lakers' afternoon NBA Cares event was cancelled today in China. The team is having a closed practice. No details yet if the game Thursday against the Nets is affected.— Kyle Goon (@kylegoon) October 9, 2019
The Lakers & Nets will address the media in Shanghai 4 hours from now. Since the NBA touched down in China, 2 NBA Cares events have been canceled by the Chinese government, several Chinese celebrities have backed out of appearances around the games as have corp. sponsors.— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) October 9, 2019
(Update: Or maybe they won't talk soon.)
With media gathered in the lobby of the Lakers Shanghai hotel, the NBA releases a statement: “Given the fluidity of the situation, today’s media availability has been postponed.”— Bill Oram (@billoram) October 9, 2019
These cancellations come in the aftermath of CCTV and Tencent’s decisions to not broadcast the Lakers’ games against the Nets within the country after China didn’t like Adam Silver’s statement defending Daryl Morey’s right to free speech on Tuesday morning.
As of publishing time, the Lakers are still slated to play against the Nets at 4:30 a.m. PST on Thursday and Saturday in the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Shanghai and Shenzhen Dayun Arena in Shenzhen, respectively. Despite the cancellation of the Chinese broadcasts, both Spectrum Sportsnet (locally in L.A.) and NBA TV (nationally) are both still scheduled to air the games, should they take place.
Those games being played looks increasingly unlikely, however, as the two teams and the NBA as a whole continue to engage in a standoff with China that has persisted since Morey, the Houston Rockets’ general manager, tweeed (and quickly deleted) a message of support for protestors currently demonstrating in Hong Kong. China’s dissatisfaction with the NBA’s response so far has led to multiple reports that the games appear to be in jeopardy.
Silver has said that he plans to meet with Chinese officials soon, and with the Lakers and Nets also slated to speak to the media in the next few hours, it seems likely we’ll know pretty quickly here whether or not Thursday and Saturday’s preseason games will be played at all. Stay tuned to Silver Screen and Roll for the latest updates.