The tweet posted by Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey in support of protesters in Hong Kong, has cost the NBA between $150-200 million, according to ESPN.
That financial hit will impact players, as salary cap growth and luxury tax projections are expected to slow.
In other words, while the estimated cap for 2020-2021 could still rise 3.5 percent, bringing the official number to $109.1 million, that figure would still be substantially smaller than the 6.3 percent growth which had been previously estimated.
In early October, while in Japan for preseason games and publicity events, Morey tweeted, “Fight for Freedom. Stand with Hong Kong.”
Condemnation and backlash from China was swift and cutting.
“We want to express our indignation and strong condemnation,” the Chinese Basketball Association posted on Chinese social media. “We have already stopped our cooperation with the Houston Rockets, and continue to urge them to give a clear answer on this matter.”
China responded by pulling television coverage and canceling multiple sponsorship deals with the Association. The breaking of those agreements is what cost the league the majority of the $150-200 million.
“The report added that the league has alerted teams it soon will release adjusted projections for 2020-21 so teams can make ‘more informed financial and roster decisions ahead of the Feb. 6 trade deadline,’” the New York Post reports.
It’s unclear whether the NBA has had any success in restoring their previous agreements with China.
Follow Dylan Gwinn on Twitter @themightygwinn