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SILVER HAD A breakout session with the teams' ownership and front-office personnel on the ground while the players huddled.
Lakers GM Rob Pelinka, according to sources, echoed James' position to the commissioner. Advocating for the players, he thought, was a chance to build unity. If at the end of the day his 15 players believed their front office had their best interests at heart, then trust could be built. It would be a small victory in a tough situation.
Silver eventually came back to the players: If they weren't prepared to do media, then the NBA wouldn't make them do it. End of story.
But everyone involved wanted to salvage the games.
"We were just hoping to play a little basketball," James said Monday. "No matter what's going on in my life or what's been going on in any situation, the game of basketball has always put people in a great space. So we were just hoping we could get out there and play some ball."
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A worker removes a promotional banner ahead of the preseason game in Shanghai between the Nets and Lakers. HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP via Getty Images
The self-imposed media ban proved moot. The Chinese government canceled the pregame and postgame news conferences -- including Silver's -- for the Shanghai game, just as it had canceled the ancillary events that week. The feeling among NBA officials was that China viewed the games as the crown jewel. Anything that could potentially derail the games -- such as a player echoing what Silver said in Tokyo supporting Morey -- needed to be eliminated.
After days of agitation, Chinese officials seemed to relent and hint that they too wanted to see the games played. Although they didn't offer certainty that day, they essentially "nodded," according to an NBA China source.
For all the discomfort, the league had some leverage: There are hundreds of millions of NBA fans in China, after all.
As a tumultuous Wednesday concluded, everyone went to bed that night confident that there would be a basketball game the next day.