The NBA has entered into exploratory conversations with the Walt Disney Company about restarting the remainder of its season at Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Florida, in late July, NBA spokesperson Mike Bass said Saturday.
“The NBA, in conjunction with the National Basketball Players Association, is engaged in exploratory conversations with The Walt Disney Company about restarting the 2019-20 NBA season in late July at Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Florida as a single site for an NBA campus for games, practices and housing, Bass said. “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.”
The NBA suspended its season indefinitely on March 11, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
It remains unclear whether the NBA will play the remainder of its regular season or proceed directly to the playoffs. But the 220-acre ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, with its three arenas and ample hotel accommodations, would allow the league to restart play while limiting outside exposures.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported Friday that the NBA has a board of governors call set for next Friday, which is expected to provide additional details for teams on a timetable and plan to proceed with the season. Teams are expecting the league to instruct them to start recalling players to their team’s markets around June 1.
The NBA is discussing a step-by-step plan for a resumption of the 2019-2020 season that includes an initial two-week recall of players into team marketplaces for a period of quarantine, one to two weeks of individual workouts at team facilities and a two-to-three week formal training camp, Wojnarowski reported. Barring an unforeseen turn of events, many NBA owners, executives and NBPA elders believe commissioner Adam Silver will green light the return to play in June — with games expected to resume sometime before the end of July, sources said.