LeBron James believes Rockets general manager Daryl Morey was "misinformed and not educated on the situation" when he tweeted in support of anti-government protestors in Hong Kong.
"I don't want to get into a ... feud with Daryl but I believe he wasn't educated about the situation at hand and he spoke," James told reporters on Monday ahead of the Lakers' preseason game against the Warriors. "So many people could have been harmed, not only financially, but physically, emotionally, spiritually.
"Just be careful what we tweet ... even though, yes, we do have freedom of speech," he added. "But there can be a lot of negative that comes with that too."
James clarified in a tweet afterward that he does "not believe there was any consideration for the consequences and ramifications of the tweet. I’m not discussing the substance. Others can talk about that."
James's comments come after earlier reports that the Lakers' star held a players-only discussion with his team and the Nets after Adam Silver's "tense" meeting with the two sides on Oct. 9. According to ESPN's Rachel Nichols, "several prominent players voiced frustration about their perception that they were being put in the middle of the dispute between the NBA and China" during the meeting.
James reportedly didn't want players to have to publicly discuss something they weren't comfortable speaking about, and players also felt reservations considering the U.S. and China are involved in a trade dispute, according to The Athletic's Shams Charania.
The relationship between the NBA and China was disrupted after Morey's tweet, which included a photo of protestors in Hong Kong with the caption, "Fight For Freedom. Stand With Hong Kong." Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta denounced the tweet and said the Rockets were "not a political organization" and that Morey did not speak for the team.
A pair of NBA Cares events in Shanghai were canceled as the fallout from Morey's tweet continued, and China's state-run TV network, CCTV, suspended its NBA programming due to the controversy. The Chinese basketball federation also canceled upcoming G League exhibition games between teams affiliated with the Rockets and Mavericks.
"I think when we talk about the political side, I think it's a very delicate situation," James said Monday. "Very sensitive situation. For me personally, if any of you guys know me or always cover me, you guys know when I speak about something, I speak about something I'm very knowledgeable about. Something that hits home for me. Something I'm very passionate about. I feel like with this particular situation, not only was I not informed enough about--I just felt like it was something not only myself or my teammates or our organization had enough information to even talk about it at that point in time. And we still feel the same way."