While attending this week's TIME 100 Health Summit, Silver claims the Chinese government and the NBA's partners in the country wanted Daryl Morey removed from the Rockets organization because of his Hong Kong tweet. "We were being asked to fire him, by the Chinese government, by the parties we dealt with in government and business," Silver said. "We said there's no chance that's happening. There's no chance we'll even discipline him."
On Oct. 4, Morey sent out a tweet that read "Fight For Freedom. Stand With Hong Kong." This sent shockwaves around China and several of the country's businesses either ended their partnerships with the NBA or threatened to terminate their contracts. It also put the Lakers/Nets preseason game in Shanghai in jeopardy.
Silver was forced to use diplomacy following Morey's tweet, but his initial response was interpreted by some as the NBA condemning the general manager for sharing his thoughts. Silver then revised his sentiment by stating that the NBA will not waive its freedom of speech to appease Chinese officials. "The NBA will not put itself in a position of regulating what players, employees and team owners say or will not say on these issues," Silver said in a statement released on Oct. 8. "Essentially, what I've said in that statement is the long-held values of the NBA are to support freedom of expression, and certainly freedom of expression by members of the NBA community. And in this case, Daryl Morey, as the general manager of the Houston Rockets, enjoys that right as one of our employees."
Although Silver his defending Morey, LeBron James chastised the executive for his poorly timed message.