Adam Silver Rejected China's Request to Fire Rockets' Daryl Morey: 'No Chance'

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistOctober 17, 2019

SAITAMA, JAPAN - OCTOBER 08: Commissioner of the National Basketball Association (NBA) Adam Silver speaks during a press conference prior to the preseason game between Houston Rockets and Toronto Raptors at Saitama Super Arena on October 08, 2019 in Saitama, Japan. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. 
 (Photo by Takashi Aoyama/Getty Images)
Takashi Aoyama/Getty Images

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver confirmed "Chinese interests" asked for the league to fire Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey for his tweet in support of pro-democracy protestors in Hong Kong. 

"We said there's no chance that's happening—there's no chance we'll even discipline him," Silver said at the Time 100 Health Summit, per Time's Sean Gregory.

Silver previously said in a statement he respected the delicacy of the Hong Kong issue to Chinese people but that the league wasn't going to punish players or team personnel for expressing their opinions on the matter. 

Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta attempted some damage control after Morey's since-deleted tweet, writing the team didn't share his opinion or consider itself to be a political organization.

The Ringer's John Gonzalez reported the Rockets had also discussed whether to fire Morey; however, The Athletic's Sam Amick spoke to two sources who "strongly" refuted that report.

Although Morey remains at his post, his job in Houston could still be in jeopardy based on how far-reaching the effects of the saga have been. Silver said Thursday, "The financial consequences may go on and be fairly dramatic."

Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James was sharply critical of Morey, telling reporters he "wasn't educated on the situation at hand and he spoke."

James followed up with a statement on Twitter to say he was referring to the impact felt by those in the league:

ESPN's Rachel Nichols reported Silver held a meeting with players from the Brooklyn Nets and Los Angeles when they were in China to play a pair of preseason games. According to Nichols, "several players" argued the league likely would've fined or suspended a player who did something to hurt the NBA's bottom line as much as the Hong Kong tweet has.

Dave McMenamin of ESPN also reported one Lakers player lost a $1 million endorsement deal with a Chinese company as he was traveling to the country.

Morey didn't intend to spark an international incident but did so anyway. Members of the Rockets and players the team might target in free agency probably won't forget Morey's role in the narrative, which could make his position extremely difficult going forward.

Related

    Can Luka Doncic Sustain Historic Start to Sophomore Season?

    He's now averaging 29.5 pts, 10.7 rebs and 9.3 asts per game on 61.2% true shooting

    NBA logo
    NBA

    Can Luka Doncic Sustain Historic Start to Sophomore Season?

    Dan Favale
    via Bleacher Report

    Melo on Joining the Blazers

    NBA logo
    NBA

    Melo on Joining the Blazers

    Carmelo Anthony
    via YouTube

    Kawhi Listed as Day-to-Day

    NBA logo
    NBA

    Kawhi Listed as Day-to-Day

    Kyle Newport
    via Bleacher Report

    New NBA Power Rankings 📈📉

    76ers fall out of the top 10. See the full rankings ⬇️

    NBA logo
    NBA

    New NBA Power Rankings 📈📉

    Grant Hughes
    via Bleacher Report