Report: China doesn’t air NBA’s season openers in wake of Daryl Morey’s Hong Kong tweet

Even after a nearly month-long battle, China is still not letting it go.

Chinese state television did not air any of the NBA’s opening night games on Tuesday night, according to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst. The NBA’s streaming partner, Tencent, cut its schedule down to only include the Los Angeles Lakers-Los Angeles Clippers game, too, severely limiting options for Chinese fans to watch the first real action of the 2019-20 season.

The move, in reality, is not that surprising following the seemingly never-ending conflict between the NBA and China — which stemmed from Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey’s seven-word tweet supporting pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong.

China did not take Morey’s tweet well, and even pressured the league to fire him over it. They have also cut all ties with the Rockets and suspended numerous business deals with the NBA, something that commissioner Adam Silver said has caused “substantial” financial consequences for the league. Several teams have even explored scenarios where the salary cap drops 10 to 15 percent as a result of the feud.

Related: 2020 NBA championship odds ahead of the season

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2020 NBA championship odds ahead of the season

30. Charlotte Hornets: 2000/1 odds

2018-19 record: 39-43

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29. Cleveland Cavaliers: 1500/1 odds

2018-19 record: 19-63

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(AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

28. Washington Wizards: 1250/1 odds

2018-19 record: 32-50

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(AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

27. New York Knicks: 1000/1 odds

2018-19 record: 17-65

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(AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

T-25. Phoenix Suns: 500/1 odds

2018-19 record: 19-63

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(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

T-25. Memphis Grizzlies: 500/1 odds

2018-19 record: 33-49

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(AP Photo/Brandon Dill)

24. Chicago Bulls: 300/1 odds

2018-19 record: 22-60

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(AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

T-22. Oklahoma City Thunder: 250/1 odds

2018-19 record: 49-33

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(AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

T-22. Minnesota Timberwolves: 250/1 odds

2018-19 record: 36-46

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(AP Photo/Nell Redmond)

T-20. Detroit Pistons: 200/1 odds

2018-19 record: 41-41

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(AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

T-20. Atlanta Hawks: 200/1 odds

2018-19 record: 29-53

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(AP Photo/John Bazemore)

19. Orlando Magic: 100/1 odds

2018-19 record: 42-40

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(AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

18. Sacramento Kings: 125/1 odds

2018-19 record: 39-43

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(AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

17. New Orleans Pelicans: 100/1 odds

2018-19 record: 33-49

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(AP Photo/John Bazemore)

16. Miami Heat: 75/1 odds

2018-19 record: 39-41

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(AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

15. Toronto Raptors: 70/1 odds

2018-19 record: 58-24, won championship

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T-13. San Antonio Spurs: 60/1 odds

2018-19 record: 48-34

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(AP Photo/Eric Gay)

T-13. Dallas Mavericks: 60/1 odds

2018-19 record: 33-49

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(AP Photo/John Hefti)

12. Indiana Pacers: 50/1 odds

2018-19 record: 48-34

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(AP Photo/AJ Mast)

11. Brooklyn Nets: 45/1 odds

2018-19 record: 42-40

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(AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

10. Portland Trail Blazers: 30/1 odds

2018-19 record: 53-29

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9. Boston Celtics: 25/1 odds

2018-19 record: 49-33

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(AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

T-7. Utah Jazz: 15/1 odds

2018-19 record: 50-32

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(AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

T-7. Denver Nuggets: 15/1 odds

2018-19 record: 54-28

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(AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

6. Golden State Warriors: 10/1 odds

2018-19 record: 57-25, won Western Conference

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(AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

T-4. Philadelphia 76ers: 8/1 odds

2018-19 record: 51-31

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(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

T-4. Houston Rockets: 8/1 odds

2018-19 record: 53-29

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(AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

3. Los Angeles Lakers: 6/1 odds

2018-19 record: 37-45

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(AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

2. Milwaukee Bucks: 11/2 odds

2018-19 record: 60-22

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(AP Photo/Morry Gash)

1. Los Angeles Clippers: 9/2 odds

2018-19 record: 48-34

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(AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)
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CCTV issued a warning to Silver on Saturday, too, saying he could face “retribution” for defaming China and supporting Morey in an editorial. It also claimed he “fabricated lies out of nothing and has sought to paint China as unforgiving” in order to “please some American politicians.”

While most of the NBA’s opening night content was tough to find in China, the international conflict was front and center in the United States.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) penned an Op-Ed in USA Today on Tuesday morning urging the NBA to stand up to China. Shaquille O’Neal then supported Morey on TNT’s “Inside the NBA” pregame show, saying he was right to speak up for what he believed in.

A Hong Kong flag was even flying in the background of the TNT show, which was broadcasting live outside of the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Thousands of “Fight For Freedom, Stand With Hong Kong” shirts were reportedly being handed out to fans around the arena, too.

The NBA declined to comment to ESPN about CCTV’s decision not to air the games, something the network usually does on opening night.

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