NBA notebook: VP Pence rips league over China issue

Vice President Mike Pence ripped the NBA’s handling of the China situation on Thursday, saying the league is “acting like a wholly owned subsidiary” of the communist country.

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Pence delivered his tough words about the incident, which began with a pro-Hong Kong tweet by Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey, during a speech on Thursday at The Wilson Center in Washington.

Pence took issue with how star players went silent in the wake of the controversy caused by Morey’s Oct. 4 tweet: “Fight for Freedom, stand with Hong Kong.”

“Some of the NBA’s biggest players and owners, who routinely exercise their freedom to criticize this country, lose their voices when it comes to the freedom and rights of other peoples,” Pence said during the speech.

--Sacramento forward Marvin Bagley III will miss at least a month after breaking his right thumb Wednesday in the Kings’ season-opening loss to the Phoenix Suns. The team said that an MRI exam revealed a non-displaced fracture and that Bagley is expected to miss four to six weeks.

Bagley, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, opened his second season by tallying 14 points and 10 rebounds in the 124-95 loss in Phoenix.

Expected to be a pivotal piece of the Kings’ young core this season, Bagley averaged 14.9 points and 7.6 rebounds in 62 games (four starts) as a rookie in 2018-19. He made the All-Rookie first team.

--Charlotte Hornets forward Nicolas Batum is expected to miss three to four weeks with a fractured left middle finger, Yahoo Sports reported. The Hornets announced that X-rays revealed Batum sustained a fracture of a finger, but the club hasn’t yet provided its timeline for how long the 30-year-old will be sidelined.

Batum got hurt Wednesday during Charlotte’s season-opening victory over the Chicago Bulls. His finger appeared to get caught on the ball while trying to catch a pass in traffic.

Batum was held without a point in 11 minutes but had four rebounds and two assists in the opener. He is beginning his fifth season with the Hornets.

--Field Level Media