Bulls' Jim Boylen Defers To NBA Commissioner On China Rift

Dave Kerner
October 09, 2019 - 8:05 pm

(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

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CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- Bulls Coach Jim Boylen on Wednesday declined to wade into the widening NBA-China rift, saying he trusts league Commissioner Adam Silver to repair relations with the foreign nation.

“I know that Commissioner Adam Silver is on top of it. It’s a really complex, difficult issue. They’re going to handle that, and I’ll focus on coaching our team,” Boylen said as the Bulls prepared to host the Pelicans in a preseason game at United Center.

He added: “I’m sure the commissioner will handle it and we’ll hopefully all move past this.”

Relations between China, with its potentially lucrative basketball fan base, and the NBA have soured ever since Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey posted a tweet (later deleted) expressing support for Hong Kong protesters.

Silver said NBA employees have the right to express their opinions.

The Chinese government has been pushing back. It wasn’t assured that the NBA would be able to stage two games against the Nets and Lakers in China, as previously planned, the Associated Press reported. Chinese business sponsors have pulled out of the events.

Meantime, NBA coaches have been pressed for their opinions about the controversy, which involves the politically touchy issue of China’s handling of anti-government demonstrations in Hong Kong. 

San Antonio Spurs Coach Greg Popovich praised Silver for defending the importance of free speech. Others took a pass when asked to weigh in.