Stadium signage has been removed and players reportedly are growing uneasy with playing games amid growing tensions in China, where the Los Angeles Lakers and Brooklyn Nets are scheduled to play Thursday.
An event in Shanghai scheduled for Wednesday to benefit the Special Olympics featuring the Lakers was canceled hours before it was to begin.
Another fan experience event also was pulled from the schedule of events around the appearance of the Lakers in China, the latest maneuver from the hosts underlining the depth of the fallout from Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey’s comments last week.
There is growing speculation the two NBA games scheduled to be played in China this week will not be played.
Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated said Wednesday on “The Dan Patrick Show” the games could be canceled. Dave McMenamin reported on ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” that the games are in doubt over safety concerns. The network’s Rachel Nichols reported the NBA doesn’t want to cancel games, but said all NBA and player signage — massive images of LeBron James, Anthony Davis and a 20-foot NBA logo on the arena — was removed Wednesday by a single worker operating a crane.
State television broadcaster CCTV announced Tuesday that neither NBA game in the country would be televised. All 11 wholly owned Chinese companies with official partnerships with the NBA have severed ties with the NBA, CNN reported Wednesday afternoon.
The NBA said it did not cancel either fan event, one day after NBA commissioner Adam Silver said the league regretted the consequences — but not the spirit — of Morey’s tweet supporting Hong Kong’s democratic revolution.
The league did cancel media availability on Wednesday.
“Given the fluidity of the situation, today’s media availability has been postponed,” the league said in a statement.