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NBA in talks with Disney to resume season in Orlando

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREUCLA alum Kenny Clark signs four-year contract extension with PackersNBA spokesman Mike Bass said the conversations were still “exploratory,” and that the site would be used not only for games but for practices and housing as well.“Our priority continues to be the health and safety of all involved, and we are working with public health experts and government officials on a comprehensive set of guidelines to ensure that appropriate medical protocols and protections are in place,” Bass said.The ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex is a 255-acre campus with multiple arenas that could host games simultaneously and has been home to, among other things, the Jr. NBA World Championship in recent years. ESPN is primarily owned by Disney, one of the NBA’s broadcast partners.Space won’t be an issue, even if Major League Soccer – which is also in talks to resume its season at Disney – is there at the same time as the NBA. The entire Disney complex is roughly 40 square miles, with nearly 24,000 hotel rooms owned or operated by Disney within the campus.Lakers forward Jared Dudley said on Wednesday that he had heard in the Disney scenario, players would have access to amenities like restaurants and golf courses. Both the league and the NBPA has suggested that players won’t be forcibly confined to the competition location, but most players would expect to stay in place to minimize risk of exposure to COVID-19. “So like (LeBron James, Anthony Davis) and all the top guys we have, we’ll be wrapping them in a bubble and not letting them go anywhere,” he said. “Just be honest: You’ll have that be a team rule; it won’t be a league, an NBA rule. But you’d want to say, ‘Listen guys we’ve come too far.”The matter of how many games will be played and what format the NBA chooses to pursue is still up for discussion. The Athletic reported Saturday morning that general managers had received a survey asking them to weigh scenarios, including playing any more regular-season games, playing scrimmages prior to official games or jumping straight into the postseason. The surveys also included prompts for GMs to consider play-in games for playoff seeding, as well as the last possible date to finish competition – ranging from Sept. 15 to Nov. 1.The NBA suspended its season March 11, becoming the first of the U.S. major pro leagues to do so after it became known that All-Star center Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz tested positive for COVID-19. The list of NBA players who were known to test positive eventually grew to 10 – not all were identified – and Commissioner Adam Silver said last month the actual total was even higher.But the league has been working on countless return-to-play scenarios for several weeks, all with the caveat that testing would be an integral part of any resumption of the season. Teams have been allowed to welcome players back to their training facilities for voluntary sessions since May 8, and more than half of the league’s franchises have taken advantage of that opportunity, including the Lakers and Clippers who worked closely with the county to follow prescribed sanitation guidelines.The next steps would likely include a loosening of the restrictions for those voluntary workouts — no more than four players are currently allowed inside any facility at a time — and then a plan for when training camps could open. If the league plans to resume play in late July, then camps conceivably could open around the start of that month.Staff writer Kyle Goon contributed to this report. Traditionally, going to Walt Disney World is what happens after winning a championship.If the NBA resumes play this season, there’s a good chance its teams will be heading to the Central Florida resort for a shot at taking the Larry O’Brien Trophy.The NBA officially confirmed Saturday that it is in discussions with The Walt Disney Company on a single-site scenario for a resumption of play in late July, the clearest sign yet that the league believes the season can continue amid the coronavirus pandemic.Talks, which also include the National Basketball Players Association, were reported earlier this week, and since then several players have speculated openly on the possibility. Games would be held at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, a massive campus on the Disney property near Orlando with several courts that can run live broadcasts.center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img

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