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LeBron James during pregame warmups in Shanghai. Photo: Hector Retamal/AFP via Getty Images

Thursday's game between the Lakers and Nets proceeded as scheduled, but the Chinese government will not allow players or coaches to talk to the media before or after the game. In addition, Adam Silver's pre-game press conference was canceled.

The big picture: This is a high-stakes political battle between the world's most populous country and one of America's most visible entities, with its 2 newest owners, Tilman Fertitta and Joe Tsai, playing major roles.

  • The salary cap effect: Some NBA teams are doing scenario planning for the $116 million salary cap for 2020-21 to drop by as much as 15% due to the China situation, per Yahoo Sports. "I haven't really been in this spot before. The cap has only gone up in recent years," said one team's cap expert.
  • Chinese partners cut ties: Of the 25 official partners listed on the NBA China website, 13 are Chinese businesses. So far, 11 have distanced themselves from the league. This comes after tech giant Tencent and smartphone-maker Vivo did the same earlier this week.
  • Congress gets involved: 8 members of Congress, including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Ted Cruz, wrote a letter to Adam Silver yesterday, calling on him to "Suspend NBA activities in China until government-controlled broadcasters and government-controlled commercial sponsors end their boycott."

Go deeper: The basketball tweet that set off a geopolitical firestorm

Go deeper

Scoop: Border officials project 13,000 child migrants in May

The "El Chaparral" border crossing at Tijuana. Photo: Stringer/Picture Alliance via Getty Images

A Customs and Border Protection staffer told top administration officials Thursday the agency is projecting a peak of 13,000 unaccompanied children crossing the border in May, sources directly familiar with the discussion told Axios.

Why it matters: That projection would exceed the height of the 2019 crisis, which led to the infamous "kids-in-cages" disaster. It also underscores a rapidly escalating crisis for the Biden administration.

7 hours ago - World

U.S. strikes Iran-backed militia facilities in Syria

President Biden at the Pentagon on Feb. 10. Photo: Alex Brandon - Pool/Getty Images

The United States on Thursday carried out an airstrike against facilities in Syria linked to an Iran-backed militia group, the Pentagon announced.

The state of play: The strike, approved by President Biden, comes "in response to recent attacks against American and Coalition personnel in Iraq, and to ongoing threats to those personnel," Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said in a statement.

Senate parliamentarian rules $15 minimum wage cannot be included in relief package

Photo: Al Drago/Getty Images

The Senate parliamentarian ruled Thursday that the provision to increase the minimum wage to $15/hour cannot be included in the broader $1.9 trillion COVID relief package.

Why it matters: It's now very likely that any increase in the minimum wage will need bipartisan support, as the provision cannot be passed with the simple Senate majority that Democrats are aiming to use for President Biden's rescue bill.