It wasn't too long ago Fox News correspondent Laura Ingraham insisted athletes stay in their lane and keep politics out of the locker room. However, those days seem to be behind us as the NBA has become a contentious arena for international diplomacy and freedom of expression after the Houston Rockets' general manager shared a risky tweet.

In April, an extradition bill was introduced allowing criminal suspects to be protected under circumstances in mainland China. Protests spurred from the proposed legislation with critics fearing that people in Hong Kong would become susceptible to violent treatment and unfair trials. Protestors are now calling for China to consider several measures including amnesty for arrested demonstrators, independent inquiries into police brutality and complete universal suffrage, BBC reported.

In response to heightening tensions, the Houston Rockets general manager tweeted an image, voicing his support for Hong Kong's pro-democratic demonstrations. 

Daryl Morey quickly deleted the post praising the protestors in Hong Kong, a Chinese territory.

His tweet caught the attention of NBA and Chinese officials mostly due to the association’s strong business ties with China.

NBA games, which are widely popular in China, are streamed by Chinese tech giant Tencent Sports and CCTV regularly. The NBA has also invested in several basketball courts throughout the country. According to CNN, the NBA has roughly $4 billion worth of business with China. 

In July, Tencent, an exclusive broadcaster of the NBA since 2015, extended its partnership with the league for five more years. As part of the agreement, Tencent will continue to stream full seasons of live NBA games and manage NBA activities in China. 

The immediate effects of Morey’s tweet set off a ripple of conflicting opinions, canceled NBA events in China and several deals between businesses and teams throughout the league, including the Rockets. China has even started a media boycott of the Texas basketball team, which could potentially cost them $25 million and approximately 800 million viewers this season. 

Since then, NBA leaders and players have been bombarded with questions around what's next with the regular season around the corner.

Yao Ming, former Houston Rockets player, Hall of Famer and head of the Chinese Basketball Association, is reportedly "extremely hot at the moment." NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said he is hopeful he and Ming will be able to talk soon.

"I'm hoping together that Yao Ming and I can find accommodation. There's no question that Daryl's tweet has hit what I would describe as a third-rail issue in China. I think Yao is extremely unsettled. I'm not quite sure he accepts how we are operating our business right now,” Silver said.

Houston Rockets guard James Harden has made a point to avert the drama by simply "stay[ing] out of it." 

"I'm focusing on what we have and trying to get better. We’re a week and a half away from the regular season," he said to reporters on Sunday. 

Conversely, LeBron James offered his two cents on Morey's recent blunder. 

"I don't want to get into a [verbal] feud with Daryl Morey, but I believe he wasn't educated on the situation at hand, and he spoke," James told reporters before Monday night's preseason game against the Golden State Warriors. "And so many people could have been harmed not only financially, physically, emotionally, spiritually. So just be careful what we tweet and say and we do, even though, yes, we do have freedom of speech, but there can be a lot of negative that comes with that, too."

Prior to his comment, sources report James spoke with Silver about players being put in a position to answer questions and represent the NBA overseas in front of reporters. 

Many on social media pushed back against the NBA champion's comments, saying the protestors in Hong Kong are risking their lives for democracy. 

James later took to Twitter to clarify his comments.

With no conflict resolution talks on the table, many are wondering what lies ahead for the league.

The upcoming NBA season kicks off on October 22.