Los Angeles Clippers center Ivica Zubac, center, dunks past Los Angeles Lakers forward Montrezl Harrell (15) during the second half of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Los Angeles Clippers center Ivica Zubac, center, dunks past Los Angeles Lakers forward Montrezl Harrell (15) during the second half of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

NBA studying ways to bring games back overseas in future

NBA regular season is scheduled to run through mid-May, with the playoffs going from May 22 through July 22

The NBA is still looking at scenarios that could allow teams to play in Europe and China again next season, deputy commissioner Mark Tatum said Tuesday.

Tatum also said the NBA’s season-opening doubleheader Tuesday night would be shown in China on Tencent, a league streaming partner. But the coronavirus pandemic is preventing the league from playing any games outside the U.S. this season, except possibly a return by the Toronto Raptors to Canada — something that won’t happen before March at the earliest.

Typically, the NBA has played preseason games in China and takes some regular-season games to Mexico and Europe. This season’s plans called for a game in Paris, though the pandemic forced those to be tabled.

“We do anticipate that once it becomes healthy and safe to be able to do that that we’ll return to a schedule of international preseason and regular-season games,” Tatum said on a call with international reporters.

NBA games were available on Tencent last season even while the league and the Chinese government worked through a very strained relationship — an October 2019 tweet by then-Houston general manager Daryl Morey showing support for anti-government protesters in Hong Kong prompted major fallout, including state broadcaster CCTV not showing any NBA games for a full year. CCTV put the NBA back on its channel lineup for the last two games of the NBA Finals last fall.

Commissioner Adam Silver said at the All-Star break this past February that the league’s issues with China would lead to perhaps as much as $400 million in lost revenue — and that was before the pandemic struck and led to even more revenue missed leaguewide.

“There’s no doubt that we have a long history in China, a more than 40-year history of doing business in China, and that we remain committed to people-to-people exchange with the hundreds of millions of fans that we have there,” Tatum said. “Playing global games has been and will continue to be an important part of how we engage with our fans in China and in other parts of the world, as well.”

Tatum’s comments came on the day the NBA revealed its roster breakdown of international players for this season; 107 such players from 41 countries made opening-night rosters, including a record 17 Canadian players and a record-tying 14 African players.

“It’s just not the quantity of the players but the quality,” Tatum said. “These are some of the best players in the game.”

That list includes Greece’s two-time reigning NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo of Milwaukee, Slovenia’s Luka Doncic of Dallas, Serbia’s Nikola Jokic of Denver, and Toronto’s Pascal Siakam and Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid — both from Cameroon.

The NBA regular season is scheduled to run through mid-May, with the playoffs going from May 22 through July 22. That has led to much speculation about NBA players being able to participate in the Olympics, which open in Tokyo on July 23.

There are 24 nations — Greece, Canada, Serbia and Slovenia among them — scheduled to compete starting in late June for the final four spots in the Olympic men’s tournament. Japan, the U.S., Argentina, Iran, Nigeria, France, Spain and Australia have already qualified.

Tatum said the NBA is working closely with the International Olympic Committee and FIBA, the sport’s global governing body, to ensure there is “the best possible schedule for everybody involved.” And it’s possible that the finalizing of Olympic rosters could be pushed back to allow NBA players the maximum amount of time before making decisions on whether to play or not.

“It’s my expectation that our federation, FIBA, together with the IOC, will also work with us on potential accommodations, even in terms of when rosters would otherwise need to be submitted, recognizing that they’re going to need to be more flexible and work with us this season given how much uncertainty there is around the virus,” Silver said earlier this week.

___

Tim Reynolds, The Associated Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

CoronavirusNBA

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Vaccinations are set to resume in the small community of Tatchet, according to Lake Babine Nation’s Deputy Chief. (Black Press Media file photo)
Lake Babine Nation vaccine rollout resumes after a short pause

A COVID positive test within the care team had put the vaccinations on hold

Cheslatta Chief Corrina Leween received one of the COVID-19 vaccines on the Southside, on Wednesday, Jan. 13. (Submitted/Lakes District News)
COVID-19 vaccination begins in Burns Lake

Senior population, health care workers and First Nations among the first to get the vaccine

Sasquatch sighting. (Omineca Ski Club photo/Lakes District News)
Sasquatch on the loose at Omineca Ski Club

Head out to the trails to see if you can spot it; a tongue-in-cheek response from the club President

Two books in particular became quite popular at the start of the pandemic — Soap and Water Common Sense, The definitive guide to viruses’ bacteria, parasites, and disease and The Great Influenza, The story of the deadliest pandemic in history. (Priyanka Ketkar photo/Lakes District News)
Burns Lake Public Library lent 20,916 books in 2020

Gained 67 new patrons throughout the year

Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry head for the press theatre at the B.C. legislature for an update on COVID-19, Jan. 7, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 spread steady with 509 new cases Friday

Hospitalized and critical care cases decline, nine deaths

Seasonal influenza vaccine is administered starting each fall in B.C. and around the world. (Langley Advance Times)
After 30,000 tests, influenza virually nowhere to be found in B.C.

COVID-19 precautions have eliminated seasonal infection

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to a question during a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Friday, January 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau says Canada’s COVID vaccine plan on track despite Pfizer cutting back deliveries

Canadian officials say country will still likely receive four million doses by the end of March

Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon shared a handwritten note his son received on Jan. 13, 2021. (Ravi Kahlon/Twitter)
Proud dad moment: B.C. minister’s son, 10, receives handwritten note for act of kindness

North Delta MLA took to Twitter to share a letter his son received from a new kid at school

Lilly and Poppy, two cats owned by Kalmar Cat Hotel ownder Donna Goodenough, both have cerebellAr hypoplasia, a genetic neurological condition that affects their ability to control their muscles and bones. Photo by Alistair Taylor – Campbell River Mirror
VIDEO: Wobbly Cats a riot of flailing legs and paws but bundles of love and joy to their owner

Woman urges others to not fear adopting cats with disabilities

Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa on Friday, Jan. 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada’s top doctor says to avoid non-essential travel as B.C. explores legal options

Premier John Horgan says he is seeking legal advice on whether it can limit interprovincial travel

Martin Luther King Jr. addresses the crowd during the march on Washington, D.C., in August of 1963. Courtesy photo
Government reinforces importance of anti-racism act on Black Shirt Day

B.C. Ministers say education “a powerful tool” in the fight for equity and equality

Black Press media file
Port McNeill driver tells police he thought the pandemic meant no breathalyzers

Suspect facing criminal charges after breathalyzer readings in excess of 3.5 times the legal limit

Forestry companies in B.C. agree to abide by the cedar protocols based on traditional laws of the First Nation members of the Nanwakolas Council. (Photo courtesy, Nanwakolas Council)
Landmark deal sees B.C. forest firms treat big cedars like a First Nation would

Western Forest Products, Interfor among companies to adapt declaration drafted by Nanwakolas Council

Most Read