NBA boss Silver says losses in China row 'substantial'

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New York (AFP)

NBA commissioner Adam Silver said Thursday the league had suffered "substantial" losses following its dispute with China.

"I don't know where we go from here," Silver said at Time magazine's Time 100 Heath Summit in New York. "The financial consequences have been and may continue to be fairly dramatic.

"The losses have already been substantial. Our games are not back on the air in China as we speak, and we?ll see what happens next."

The NBA has been at loggerheads with China after Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey tweeted support for pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong.

"We were being asked to fire him by the Chinese government, by the parties we dealt with, government and business," Silver said. "We said there's no chance that's happening. There's no chance we'll even discipline him."

The NBA was criticized for early statements after the firestorm erupted that included the word "regrettable" and many saw as a nod to China.

"We did use the word regrettable initially but regrettable was modifying the fact that we had upset our Chinese fans," Silver said.

"We were saying we regretted upsetting our fans that also at the same time supporting Daryl Morey's right to express himself, right to tweet... Maybe I was trying too hard to be a diplomat."