Kyrie Irving acknowledged he was "conflicted" but would not divulge discussions with commissioner Adam Silver as the NBA's relationship with China remains on the agenda.

Preseason games in China - involving Irving's Brooklyn Nets - were at the centre of controversy after a since-deleted tweet from Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey supported anti-government protesters in Hong Kong.

Morey's comments overshadowed what had been expected to be a celebration of the NBA in one of their key international markets, with media duties cancelled, although the games went ahead.

LeBron James, whose Los Angeles Lakers were also involved, weighed in on his return to the United States, suggesting Morey "wasn't educated" on the matter.

And Irving was asked about the situation following the Nets' final preseason game against the Toronto Raptors at Barclays Center, where fans were pictured wearing "Stand with Hong Kong" shirts in the stands.

Questions centred on a reported behind-closed-doors meeting between Silver and the players involved in China.

"I don't know whose notes [reports are from] or who is in there that you can't really depend on to keep a conversation like that in house," Irving said. "Especially when it is about the NBA brand and the NBA players being impacted by it.

"I stand for four things, man: inner peace, freedom, equality and world peace. So, if that is being conflicted inside of me, I am definitely going to have something to say, and I left it in that room."

Irving, who scored 19 points on 7-of-17 shooting in the defeat to the Raptors, added: "I understand that Hong Kong and China is dealing with their issues, respectively.

"But there is enough oppression and stuff going on in America for me not to be involved in the community issues here as well."

Silver claimed earlier this week the Chinese government had asked the NBA to fire Morey, adding: "We said there's no chance that's happening. There's no chance we'll even discipline him."

Anthony Davis became the latest star to suffer an injury during NBA preseason as the Brooklyn Nets eased to a 91-77 win over the Los Angeles Lakers in China.

Davis suffered a sprained thumb midway through the first quarter, joining the Nets' Kyrie Irving on the sidelines after he aggravated a facial injury in the sides' previous meeting on Thursday.

Star Lakers signing Davis tweaked his thumb while going up to block a shot at the rim, staying in the game for a short period before heading to the locker room for further evaluation.

He came back to the sidelines with an ice pack taped to his right hand and was ruled out for the rest of the game.

Davis served as the starting center, finishing the game with six points while shooting 2-of-7 from the field - both buckets coming off assists from LeBron James.

The former New Orleans Pelicans superstar added three rebounds and two blocks in 12 minutes before leaving due to the injury.

Los Angeles were able to keep it close through the first half but saw the Nets pull clear in the third quarter as Caris LeVert shone in Irving's absence.

LeVert left the previous clash early with a knock, but he scored 22 points on 8-of-11 shooting and grabbed four rebounds. Taurean Prince also played a big role off the bench with 14 points.

The game brought to an end a trip to China that has been clouded in controversy stemming from a since-deleted tweet by Daryl Morey earlier this week, with the Houston Rockets GM supporting anti-government protesters in Hong Kong.

The two scheduled fixtures went ahead but all media availability was cancelled, overshadowing what had been expected to be a celebration of the NBA in one of its key international markets.

As the teams return to the United States, the Lakers' next preseason game is set for Monday against the Golden State Warriors at Staples Center.

The Nets host the Toronto Raptors next on Friday at Barclays Center.

Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving will not face LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers in Saturday's NBA preseason fixture after aggravating a facial fracture.

Irving left Brooklyn's 114-111 win over the Lakers early on Thursday due to the problem he suffered over the offseason.

The Nets announced on Friday that Irving will not feature against the Lakers at Shenzhen Dayun Arena in China.

Irving suffered the injury just one minute into Thursday's contest after being bumped by Lakers guard Rajon Rondo. He did not record a point, rebound or assist.

This is not Irving's first run-in with this kind of injury.

The 27-year-old point guard suffered a minor facial fracture playing for the Boston Celtics in November 2017 after taking an inadvertent elbow to the face during a game.

He also broke his jaw in December 2012 while playing for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Whether this problem will affect his success in his first season with the Nets remains to be seen.

Irving signed a four-year, $141million deal in the offseason alongside Kevin Durant, who also signed a max contract but will likely miss all of 2019-20 recovering from an Achilles injury.

A six-time All-Star, Irving has averaged 22.2 points, 3.6 rebounds, and 5.7 assists in his career.

Kyrie Irving's Brooklyn Nets debut lasted just a minute as the much-discussed NBA preseason game against the Los Angeles Lakers went ahead in Shanghai on Thursday.

Irving, who signed for the Nets alongside the injured Kevin Durant for the upcoming season, was trying to play through a facial fracture suffered in a pickup game last month, wearing a clear mask.

However, the former Boston Celtics star appeared to aggravate the issue early on as he clashed with Rajon Rondo and was immediately withdrawn.

The contest at least finally meant some basketball was played amid a week of controversy stemming from a since-deleted tweet by Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey supporting anti-government protesters in Hong Kong.

Morey's comments overshadowed what had been expected to be a celebration of the NBA in one of their key international markets in China.

Some fallout continued, with media duties for both teams and league commissioner Adam Silver cancelled, but the game represented a brief respite from a tumultuous few days.

The Nets prevailed 114-111 as some of the NBA's top stars took to the floor, although Caris LeVert followed Irving in making an early exit with an apparent eye problem.

Their absences made Spencer Dinwiddie the key man as he scored 20 points and Taurean Prince added 18 to lead six Nets in double figures.

LeBron James scored 20 points in 24 minutes to pace the Lakers, as he and Anthony Davis (16 points in 25 minutes) shared the floor as team-mates for the first time.

Brooklyn's Theo Pinson broke 111-111 tie with 20.9 seconds to play by hitting the second of two free throws, before Dzanan Musa's dunk with nine seconds left capped the scoring.

Los Angeles had a last shot to tie on Kentavious Caldwell-Pope's three-pointer as the clock ran down, but it bounced away.

Kevin Durant thinks the New York Knicks are not "the cool thing right now", which is why they have struggled to land big names in free agency.

Ten-time NBA All-Star Durant was long touted as a potential target for the Knicks, along with Kyrie Irving, and became an unrestricted free agent after declining his player option with the Golden State Warriors.

However, the 2014 MVP – who sustained an Achilles tear in Game 5 of the NBA Finals and is expected to miss the entire 2019-20 season – signed a four-year, $164million contract with the Brooklyn Nets.

Durant will team up with Irving at Barclays Center, while Kawhi Leonard plumped for the Los Angeles Clippers as the Knicks came up empty-handed.

Explaining his decision in an interview with Hot 97 in New York, Durant said: "I think a lot of fans look at the Knicks as a brand and expect these younger players — who in their lifetime don't remember the Knicks being good — [to look at it the same way].

"I didn't grow up with the Knicks being good. Well, I remember the Knicks being in the Finals, but the kids after me didn't see that. So, the brand of the Knicks to them isn't as cool to them as, let's say, the Golden State Warriors or even the Lakers or the Nets now.

"The cool thing right now is not the Knicks."

Durant admitted he "thought about" signing with the Knicks, but never seriously considered it.

"It's just a thought," he added. "I didn't really do any full analysis on the Knicks.

"Basketball is the most important thing for me, so playing with Kyrie, DeAndre Jordan, the young players they've [the Nets] got, was key.

"Playing with Golden State, playing with an older group, I thought it was time for me to kind of impose my will on a younger group.

"I just wanted to be around a nice group of young players and also a good mix of vets."

Kyrie Irving has revealed how he plans to end his career playing alongside Kevin Durant as they prepare for a new chapter with the Brooklyn Nets.

After a tough season with the Boston Celtics, the point guard opted out of the final year of his contract and instead headed to the Nets, allowing him to join forces with Durant.

Irving admitted the duo were still unsure of their next move on the morning of free agency, though feels Brooklyn is the ideal destination to put down long-term roots.

"The morning of free agency, we still had no idea what we were doing," Irving told reporters at the team's media day. 

"We just want to care for one another in a way where we can build for the next four years and on. We want to end our careers together. 

"We want to do this as a team and what better place to do it than Brooklyn, with all these guys that had worked their tails off to be where they are now, to even be in a position here in Brooklyn."

The duo will have to wait to play together, however, as Durant is recovering from an Achilles injury suffered in Game 5 of the NBA Finals.

Irving declared he will "protect" his new team-mate and not push him to come back until he is ready, something he feels was not the case with the Golden State Warriors in last season's playoffs.

"We all know K was not ready to play," the six-time NBA All-Star said.

"We all know that, whether people want to admit it or not. He was out 31 days and we put him on a national stage in the Finals to end up selling a product that came before the person, Kevin.

"Now, I'm here to protect that. And I'm going to be the protector of that all throughout the year and not allowing anyone to infiltrate that circle."

Kevin Durant said he felt it was "time for a change" after last season and so did not give too much thought to the Golden State warriors as he signed for the Brooklyn Nets.

Durant appeared as a Nets player for the first time on Friday, addressing a news conference.

Questions predictably focused on his decision to leave the dynasty he helped build with the Warriors for the hot-and-cold Nets, who have made the playoffs just once in the past four seasons.

But Durant said his achievements with Golden State were not on his mind as he entered free agency.

"I felt like it was time for a change," he told reporters. "I wanted to play for a new team and, simply put, I just did it.

"I didn't really think about what I was leaving behind or what we accomplished. I put that up on the shelf already.

"When it was time to make a decision about my future, I thought solely about me."

Asked if he considered staying with the Warriors or joining a team like the Los Angeles Clippers or New York Knicks, Durant replied: "I thought about it for a couple of seconds."

The 10-time All-Star and two-time NBA Finals MVP was ruled out of the end of last season and is expected to miss all of the coming campaign following an Achilles injury in Game 5 of the Finals series against the Toronto Raptors.

Durant had just returned from injury and that swift comeback prompted Kyrie Irving, a fellow new Nets signing, appearing alongside Durant on Friday, to discuss his thoughts.

"We all know K was not ready to play in that environment," Irving said. "We all know that, whether people want to admit it or not.

"He was out 31 days and we put him on a national stage to end up selling a product that came before the person Kevin and now I'm here to protect that.

"I'm going to be a protector of that all throughout the year and not allow anyone to infiltrate that circle.

"We have expectations for our team. We obviously know he's an integral part, but we'll wait for that.

"I'm very patient. I'll be [overly] patient with Kevin because I don't want anything to happen like that again.  I want him to be 101 per cent healthy."

Los Angeles Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma has been sidelined indefinitely due to a foot injury.

On Thursday, the Lakers announced Kuzma is dealing with a stress reaction in his left foot sustained at the FIBA World Cup.

The Lakers issued a statement, saying Kuzma is "progressing with his rehabilitation" but has not been cleared for full practice or game participation.

Kuzma is scheduled to undergo an MRI when the Lakers returns from China, where they are playing a pair of NBA exhibition games against the Brooklyn Nets on October 10 and 12.

The third-year player suffered the injury while representing the United States at the World Cup, where Team USA finished seventh.

Kuzma averaged 18.7 points and 5.5 rebounds per game for the Lakers last season.

 

Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr explained why he was not surprised superstar Kevin Durant left the team to join the Brooklyn Nets.

Durant – who is expected to miss the upcoming NBA campaign due to an Achilles injury – signed a four-year, $164million deal with the Nets in the offseason after opting to become a free agent.

When asked about Durant's departure, Kerr said he could see it coming as he thought the Warriors' dominant line-up and team chemistry had seemingly "run its course".

"I don't know why," Kerr told "The Full 48" podcast. "I do think we're in a different era where players are more interested by new challenges ... players see that there's a huge expanse out there; there's this horizon with so many different opportunities. And so you're just gonna have fewer teams that stick together for a long period of time.

"And that's just kind of how it felt this year for us. This thing has a finite ending point and this is probably it."

Some speculated that the verbal confrontation between Durant and Draymond Green on November 12 was part of the reason the two-time NBA Finals MVP left, but Kerr refuted that theory. 

"We kind of lost some momentum internally. It wasn't anything tangible," Kerr explained. "People point to the Draymond-Kevin incident. I honestly don't think that was that big of a deal, as crazy as that sounds." 

As for whether there was anything the Warriors could do to keep the 10-time All-Star? Kerr said, "Probably not. ... this thing was running its course and we kind of felt like he was moving on."

Durant, a two-time NBA champion, averaged 25.8 points per game with 7.1 rebounds and 5.4 assists during his three seasons with the Warriors.

Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving will be assessed day-to-day as he recovers from a facial fracture he suffered in practice on Tuesday.

Irving took an elbow to the face while playing in a pickup game. He was transported to a nearby hospital for further evaluation, though Brooklyn general manager Sean Marks said the team were just doing their due diligence.

"I think this is a case of us being cautious with all our guys," Marks said. "A stray, inadvertent elbow playing pickup games - yes, I did see it - those type of plays happen frequently in the same game.

"This is just a case where he caught the elbow and now we're going to do our due diligence."

Marks also gave Irving high praise for his leadership since signing with the Nets in free agency.

He said the guard has been "religious" in workouts and can already see a strong sense of camaraderie building between the veterans and young players.

Irving has dealt with injuries to his face twice before during his NBA career, with the most recent coming during the 2017-18 season. He was elbowed in the face during a game while playing for the Boston Celtics, resulting in a minor facial fracture. He also broke his jaw in 2012 during his time with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The Nets officially start training camp on Saturday, with their first pre-season game scheduled for October 10 against the Los Angeles Lakers in China.

Kevin Durant is not expected to play for the Brooklyn Nets in the 2019-20 season, general manager Sean Marks confirmed.

Ten-time All-Star Durant tore his Achilles in Game 5 of the NBA Finals in June, with the Golden State Warriors beaten to the championship by the Toronto Raptors.

Despite knowing the 2014 MVP would likely require nine to 12 months of rehabilitation, the Nets signed him to a four-year, $164million deal in free agency.

It had been reported this week that Durant could return in March, but Marks denied that will be the case.

"His rehab is going very well," Marks said at a news conference on Tuesday.

"The expectations are that he will be out for the year. We're not going to plan on playing [him].

"His rehab obviously will be predetermined over the course of the next few months ... ultimately, Kevin will have a large say in when he comes back and how he's feeling."

While Durant recovers, the team will be led by Kyrie Irving, who also joined the team in the offseason from the Boston Celtics.

Kevin Durant said he hates the "circus" surrounding the NBA as he opened up on his respective exits from the Oklahoma City Thunder and Golden State Warriors.

Durant ended a three-season stint with the Warriors at the end of the last campaign, switching to the Brooklyn Nets as a free agent on a four-year deal.

The 30-year-old, a 10-time All-Star, joined Golden State from the Thunder, where he spent nine campaigns – including one as a rookie at the Seattle SuperSonics before the franchise's move to Oklahoma – going on to win the championship with the Warriors in 2017 and 2018.

However, Durant believes the media speculation and fan furore around the NBA made his decision to leave the Warriors more acrimonious than it needed to be.

"It didn't feel as great as it could have been," Durant told the Wall Street Journal. "Some days I hate the circus of the NBA. Some days I hate that the players let the NBA business, the fame that comes with the business, alter their minds about the game.

"Sometimes I don't like being around the executives and politics that come with it. I hate that.

"We talk about mental health a lot... we only talk about it when it comes to players. We need to talk about it when it comes to executives, media, fans."

Durant believes a similar uproar surrounded his move to the Warriors in 2016, claiming he does not trust the Thunder's hierarchy. 

"I'll never be attached to that city again because of that," Durant said of Oklahoma City.

"I eventually wanted to come back to that city and be part of that community and organisation, but I don't trust nobody there. 

"The organisation, the [general manager], I ain't talked to none of those people, even had a nice exchange with those people, since I left.

"People coming to my house and spray-painting on the for-sale signs around my neighbourhood. People making videos in front of my house and burning my jerseys and calling me all types of crazy names."

Durant also explained that he left Golden State because he could not relate to many of his team-mates.

"As time went on, I started to realise I'm just different from the rest of the guys," Durant said. 

"It's not a bad thing. Just my circumstances and how I came up in the league. And on top of that, the media always looked at it like KD and the Warriors. So it's like nobody could [fully accept] me there."

Caris LeVert has agreed a "multi-year" contract extension with the Brooklyn Nets, the team confirmed on Monday.

The terms of the deal were not announced, but ESPN reported late on Sunday that LeVert had agreed a three-year, $52.5million extension that will begin with the 2020-21 season.

Levert, the number 20 pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, finished last season averaging 13.7 points, 3.8 rebounds and 3.9 assists in 40 games, having missed three months with a dislocated foot.

"Caris personifies what it means to be a Brooklyn Net, and we firmly believe his best basketball is in front of him," general manager Sean Marks said as the new deal was confirmed.

"The growth he has displayed in his first three seasons is a testament to his tireless work ethic, along with an unrelenting will to maximise his talents and achieve team success.

"Our entire organisation is excited to continue to have Caris as one of the leaders of our programme moving forward."

The Nets have completely rebuilt their roster this close season to potentially put themselves in position to be in title contention for the next few seasons.

They landed a pair of stars, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, in free agency and also signed veteran center DeAndre Jordan.

"I feel everyone has a chip on their shoulders from one to 15 before those guys, and I know those guys do, too," LeVert said, via the New York Post.

"I feel everyone at this level, that's kind of what you have to have to be one of the top players. That's our identity. I know we won't lose that."

LeVert is looking forward to eventually sharing the court with Irving and Durant, who is expected to miss most of 2019-20 after rupturing his Achilles in the NBA Finals.

"Honestly I was a little surprised," LeVert said. "I'm definitely very excited because those are two guys I like to play against and watch a lot of film on. Obviously, I can't wait to play alongside those guys."

The Nets finished last season with a 42-40 record and made the playoffs for the first time since 2014-15, where they were eliminated by the Philadelphia 76ers in five games.

Billionaire Joseph Tsai has finalised a deal that makes him the sole owner of the Brooklyn Nets and Barclays Center, the team announced on Friday.

Tsai, 55, already owned 49 per cent of the Nets, which he bought for $1billion last year.

Reports this week said he is buying the remaining 51 per cent from Mikhail Prokhorov for $1.35billion, valuing the franchise at $2.35billion.

The deal must be approved by the NBA's board of governors and is expected to be completed by the end of September, the franchise said.

"I've had the opportunity to witness up close the Brooklyn Nets rebuild that Mikhail started a few years ago," Tsai - worth an estimated $9.7billion according to Forbes - said in a statement.

"He hired a front office and coaching staff focused on player development, he supported the organisation with all his resources, and he refused to tank.

"I will be the beneficiary of Mikhail's vision, which put the Nets in a great position to compete, and for which I am incredibly grateful."

Tsai's deal for the Nets would represent the largest price paid for a United States sports team in history, surpassing the $2.2billion purchases of the Carolina Panthers and the Houston Rockets.

Last season, Brooklyn finished with a 42-40 record but have renewed hope because of huge off-season acquisitions of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.

Durant signed a four-year, $164million deal with the team, while Irving signed a four-year, $141m deal.

Kevin Durant has set the record straight about whether the Golden State Warriors pressured him to return from injury and play against the Toronto Raptors in the 2019 NBA Finals.

The now-Brooklyn Nets star opened up about the events leading up to the ruptured Achilles he suffered in the first half of Game 5.

According to him, Golden State's staff do not deserve the blame.

"Hell, no. How can you blame [the Warriors]? Hell, no," Durant told Yahoo Sports. "I heard the Warriors pressured me into getting back. Nobody never said a word to me during rehab as I was coming back.

"It was only me and [director of sports medicine and performance] Rick [Celebrini] working out every day. Right when the series started, I targeted Game 5. Hell, nah. It just happened. It's basketball. S*** happens. Nobody was responsible for it. It was just the game. We just need to move on from that s*** because I'm going to be back playing."

Durant had strained his calf in a second-round series against the Houston Rockets and missed the team's sweep of the Portland Trail Blazers.

When Durant finally stepped back on the court in the championship series, he torched Toronto for 11 points in 12 minutes before suffering the possible career-altering injury.

Durant said he is focused on moving forward and making a comeback.

"Yeah, I still think about that night," Durant said. "Every experience I've been through in the league is obviously always ingrained in my mind, but that one is definitely always going to be a huge part of my career because it's the biggest stage and the type of injury I had.

"But now I look at it as me just going out there playing basketball, and I happened to get hurt. And now I'm just waiting to get back. I know it's a huge deal to everybody else, but I just try to take it on the chin and keep it moving."

Durant will play alongside his close friends Kyrie Irving and DeAndre Jordan in Brooklyn. When Durant was asked why he joined a team that finished 2018-19 with a 42-40 record and was eliminated in the first round of the playoffs, he kept his answer short and sweet.

"Because I wanted to," Durant said. "The basketball was appealing."

Durant averaged 26.0 points, 6.4 rebounds and 5.9 assists for the Warriors last season and was named Finals MVP twice in his three years with the team.

While he will likely miss all of 2019-20, it appears like he is content with his new team.

"If I was leaving the Warriors, it was always going to be for the Nets," Durant said. "They got the pieces and a creative front office. I just like what they were building."

Page 1 of 2
© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.