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

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Photo: Anwar Amro/AFP via Getty Images

A major explosion has slammed central Beirut, Lebanon, damaging buildings as far as several miles away and injuring scores of people.

Driving the news: The cause of the explosion is unknown. Lebanon's health minister said in televised remarks that more than 50 people have been killed and over 3,000 injured.

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3 p.m. ET: 18,364,694 — Total deaths: 695,848 — Total recoveries — 10,965,634Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 3 p.m. ET: 4,742,277 — Total deaths: 156,133 — Total recoveries: 1,513,446 — Total tests: 57,543,852Map.
  3. States: New York City health commissioner resigns in protest of De Blasio's coronavirus response — New York ER doctor on pandemic advice: "We know what works"
  4. Public health: 59% of Americans support nationwide 2-week stay-at-home order in NPR poll Atrium Health CEO says "virtual hospital" has treated 13,000 COVID patients.
  5. Politics: Republicans push to expand small business loan program Trump tells "Axios on HBO" that pandemic is "under control," despite surges in infections.
  6. Sports: Indy 500 to be held without fansRafael Nadal opts out of U.S. Open.