NBA Talking About Resuming Season With Single Site Games At Walt Disney’s ESPN Complex In Orlando

The National Basketball Association is having what it terms “exploratory conversations” with the Walt Disney Co. about resuming its postponed season.

The league issued a statement Saturday on its Twitter account. If the talks bear fruit, the season would resume in late July at Disney’s ESPN complex in Orlando as a “single site for an NBA campus for games, practices, and housing,” the statement said.

The NBA has been rumored to be considering a single site for its resumption for some time, with Las Vegas also allegedly under consideration. If the league resumes, there would be a brief training camp. About 16 games remained in the regular season when the league abruptly pulled the plug in March. That move came after two Utah Jazz players tested positive for COVID-19. The NBA was the first major sports league to halt operations, but the NHL, Major League Baseball, XFL and Major League Soccer quickly followed.

Milwaukee Bucks co-owner Marc Lasry told CNBC the NBA has a board of governors call next Friday where discussions about restarting will continue.

“I think we’ll have something, hopefully within the next 6 to 8 weeks, we should be playing,” said Lasry, who appeared on CNBC’s Halftime Report  on Friday.

There are a host of issues to be determined in resuming the season. They include the structure of the league playoffs, what happens if a team has a player contract the virus, where players would be housed, who would be allowed to attend the games, and whether families could be on lockdown with their husbands and fathers in Orlando needs to be determined.

Disney via its ESPN outlet and Turner Sports’s TBS pay the NBA roughly $2.6 billion per year for national media rights.

On May 8, the league officially allowed teams to reopen practice sites in cities where stay-at-home orders are relaxed.

 

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Lakers Will Reopen Practice Facility This Saturday

For Lakers fans, the long wait may be coming to an end.

The NBA has been idle since March 11, when it became the first major U.S. sports league to shut down as the COVID-19 outbreak worsened. Two Lakers players tested positive for COVID-19 shortly thereafter.

But on Friday, ace NBA reporter Shams Charania posted a video saying the Lakers would be returning to their practice facility on Saturday, May 16.

That was followed by a similar report from ESPN’s Lakers pro, Ramona Shelbourne.

And confirmation came when the Lakers’ veteran guard Jared Dudley shared details on Twitter.

Dudley also added that “the season will continue in in Orlando and possibly Vegas.” That would support the idea of sequestering all the players in one local for the remainder of the season in order to control their exposure. Internal NBA conversations of such “Bubble” games were reported earlier this month by the New York Times.

The dean of NBA reporters Adrian Wojnarowski reported earlier this week that 22 of the 30 NBA franchises are hoping to open by Monday.

An ESPN story last month broke down what were supposedly the Lakers’ plans for prevention at the facility.

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Players will have strict schedule to follow, with “slotted workout times to prevent overcrowding.” Players will be only be allowed to practice in groups of four, maximum. The area will be cleaned and sterilized between groups.

Anyone who might bump into a Lakers player there will have to wear a mask and gloves. The designated rebounder for each player at the facility will wear gloves and also have their sneakers sterilized, sources told ESPN.

Players will be provided with personal protective equipment, both at home and before entering the facility,

Hand-washing stations will be ubiquitous. Food will be provided in individual containers, rather than via buffet in the lounge.

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