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

Seattle Mariners field coordinator Carson Vitale before a game at T-Mobile Park during the 2020 season. Vitale, who grew up in Victoria, has pledged to run 10 miles a day for 2021 and to donate 50 cents per mile to the United Way of King County. (Ben Van Houten/Seattle Mariners)
Mariners coach running 10 miles a day for United Way

Saanich-raised Carson Vitale, Seattle Mariners field coordinator, plans to run 3,650 miles in 2021

A rainbow graces the departure of CCGS John Cabot as it leaves Victoria Jan. 7. (Canadian Coast Guard/Facebook)
Follow a coast guard ship’s trip from Victoria to Halifax, through Panama Canal

Canadian Coast Guard Ship John Cabot left for St. Johns on Jan. 7

Gordon English, construction manager of the Habitat for Humanity project in North Saanich, shows off the current interior of a townhouse part of the affordable housing project. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Families set to move in to affordable housing project in North Saanich by spring

Pending completion of Habitat for Humanity project comes against backdrop of new housing report

(Google Maps)
Sophisticated glass-removal crime returns to downtown Victoria

Several businesses on Fort Street targeted overnight, say police

Keith the curious kitten is seen on Nov. 4, 2020 at the Chilliwack SPCA. Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 is Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Jan. 17 to 23

Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day, Pie Day and International Sweatpants Day are all coming up this week

(Black Press Media file photo)
From arts to environment, nominate your West Shore hero

Nominations for the Goldstream Gazette’s Local Hero awards are open to Jan. 15

Terry David Mulligan. (Submitted photo)
Podcast: Interview with longtime actor/broadcaster and B.C. resident Terry David Mulligan

Podcast: Talk includes TDM’s RCMP career, radio, TV, wine, Janis Joplin and much more

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

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

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

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

Most Read