NBA commissioner Adam Silver
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Adam Silver: Clear economic impact, ‘fairly dramatic consequences’ from Daryl Morey’s tweet

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The NBA wants to make money in China and be seen as allowing its employees to express their views. That got complicated when Rockets general manager Daryl Morey tweeted support for Hong Kong protesters.

The league issued a weak statement that mostly genuflected toward China and partially supported Morey sharing his views. Now, NBA commissioner Adam Silver is painting a fuller picture of the league’s stance.

Silver, via Joel Fitzpatrick of Kyodo News:

“There is no doubt, the economic impact is already clear,” he said. “There have already been fairly dramatic consequences from that tweet, and I have read some of the media suggesting that we are not supporting Daryl Morey, but in fact we have.”

“I think as a values-based organization that I want to make it clear…that Daryl Morey is supported in terms of his ability to exercise his freedom of expression.”

“There are the values that have been part of this league from its earliest days, and that includes free expression,” he said.

“I accept that it is also Chinese governments’ and Chinese businesses’ right to react to those words and, at least from my long-time experience in the NBA, it will take some time to heal some of these issues.”

“As complex as I understood these issues were, as I talked to them I realize how emotional they are, and how careful the league needs to be.”

The NBA is a business trying to make money. Never lose sight of that.

That’s why the league is trying to heal relations with an authoritarian Chinese regime. There’s a lot of money to be made in China when not blacklisted. However backlash to Morey’s tweet cuts into the NBA’s revenue, the league would like to minimize the financial hit.

We should be supporting the Hong Kong protesters, as Morey urged. They’re fighting for their freedoms.

Instead, Silver is emphasizing how “careful” the NBA must be – careful to protect its bottom line. The league is supporting Morey, but only to the extend deemed permissible given the greater business concerns.

Nets owner Joe Tsai tried to do damage control with his own statement, which echoed China’s official stance. He called the protesters a separatist movement, though most protesters have denied that they’re seeking independence. Tsai also claimed, “1.4 billion Chinese citizens stand united when it comes to the territorial integrity of China and the country’s sovereignty over her homeland. This issue is non-negotiable.” I have a hard time believing all 1.4 billion Chinese citizens agree.

Silver:

“I would like to believe, as a combination of Daryl Morey’s tweet and Joe Tsai’s response, that many sports fans that don’t pay all that much attention to politics, or to the situation in China and Hong Kong, may as a result know far more now about the situation.”

I agree wholeheartedly with Silver. Whatever financially motivated stance the NBA takes, Morey’s tweet – and even Tsai’s response, which I have issues with – will raise awareness of the situation. The continuing discussion will ultimately be a good thing.

Free speech is so important.

Colorado junior forward Tyler Bey declares for NBA Draft

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University of Colorado forward Tyler Bey has declared for the 2020 NBA Draft:

The junior averaged 13.8 points, 9.0 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game for the Buffaloes. Bey shot 53% from the field overall and 74.3% at the free throw line.

Bey also extended his range a bit in his third year at Colorado. He knocked down 13-of-31 three-pointers (41.9%) on the season. At just six-foot-seven, he’ll need to be able to score from behind the arc to find a place in the NBA.

Most draft analysts have Bey pegged as an early second-round pick. Some thought he could play his way into the back-end of the first-round with strong pre-draft workouts. With the pre-draft process up in the air, NBA front offices may have to make their decisions based on what they’ve already seen in person and on tape.

Stephon Marbury has arrangement to procure 10 million medical masks for New York

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Former NBA player Stephon Marbury told The New York Post that he’s arranged a deal to deliver 10 million N95 medical masks to New York. These masks are much-needed among healthcare workers battling the COVID-19 pandemic.

Marbury is having the masks produced at cost in China, where he played the last seven years of his career.

Although Marbury currently lives in Beijing, China, he said “At the end of the day, I am from Brooklyn. This is something that is close and dear to my heart as far as being able to help New York.”

While growing up, Marbury starred at Abraham Lincoln High School in Brooklyn and on New York City’s famed playgrounds. After one year at Georgia Tech, Marbury left for the NBA. The high-scoring guard played for five teams during his 13-year NBA career, including his hometown New York Knicks.

After sitting out for two seasons, Marbury signed to play for the Beijing Ducks in 2011. The move was initially seen as a way for Marbury to prove he could still play at an NBA level. Instead, Beijing became home-away-from home for the New Yorker.

Marbury averaged 21.6 points per game in 271 contests spread over seven seasons with the Ducks.

Georgetown sophomore Mac McClung declares for 2020 NBA Draft

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Georgetown sophomore Mac McClung told ESPN Jonathan Givony that he’s declaring for the 2020 NBA Draft.

McClung first came to national prominence when his high school highlights blew up on YouTube:

In his second season at Georgetown, McClung averaged 15.7 points and 1.4 steals per game. A foot injury in late-January kept McClung out of the lineup for nearly a month. He returned for one game in late-February, but played just eight minutes off the Hoyas’ bench.

The six-foot-two guard is known for his deep shooting range and his highlight dunks. McClung’s shot is inconsistent however, as he shot under 40% in each of his first two seasons at Georgetown. McClung’s defense also needs work.

McClung projects to be a point guard in the NBA, due to his size. To make it as a lead guard, he’ll need to work on his ballhandling and playmaking. With those question marks, McClung is seen as a stretch to be drafted in the second round.

McClung stated he’s signing with an NBA/NCAA approved agent. That will allow him to keep his college eligibility as he goes through the pre-draft process.

Report: NBA Together asks players who have recovered from COVID-19 to consider donating plasma

Jazz stars Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert
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Shams Charania of The Athletic reports that the NBA Together initiative is asking NBA players who have recovered from coronavirus to consider donating plasma:

NBA Together was created in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, as the NBA suspended the 2019-20 season.

One of the efforts NBA Together is supporting is the COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma Project. This project has brought together top medical specialists to determine if plasma donations could help in treating coronavirus.

Several NBA players have tested positive for COVID-19. This group includes Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell of the Utah Jazz, Kevin Durant of the Brooklyn Nets, Marcus Smart of the Boston Celtics and Christian Wood of the Detroit Pistons. All players reported either feeling no symptoms or have recovered from the affliction.