Reports: Practices Could Restart In June With Games In July At Centralized Location

by Casey Holdahl
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A number of states, including Oregon, have started to "re-open" after spending the better part of the last two months under stay-at-home orders due to the COVID-19 pandemic. And if reports are to be believed, the NBA, which has been at a standstill since March 11, might not be far behind.

According to Adrian Wojnarowski and Zach Lowe at ESPN, the NBA is getting closer to making a decision on how the 2019-20 regular season and postseason will proceed, with the general tone being one of optimism and the general consensus being that practices will resume sometime in the next month...

The league is discussing a step-by-step plan for a resumption of the 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, sources told ESPN.

Barring an unforeseen turn of events, many NBA owners, executives and National Basketball Players Association 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.

Also, it's sounding more and more like any resumption of play will take place at one centralized site, an idea floated in the early days of the shutdown. And according to Sham Charania and Sam Amick at The Athletic, Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando is the favorite to host in the event the league goes that direction...

The NBA is in serious discussions with Disney about the property, which has gained clear momentum over cities such as Las Vegas, sources said. It remains unclear when the games would begin, but multiple sources say the prospect of players fully training in mid-June and playing by mid-July has been the most popular and possible scenario discussed. NBA commissioner Adam Silver told the Board of Governors on May 12 that he aims to decide on the season in two-to-four weeks, and that he wants to wait as long as he can to make final decisions.

While the league has explored the possibility of holding games in multiple cities, it appears likely that Orlando would be a sole host. Sources confirmed that Houston, as first reported by The Ringer on Wednesday, has also received serious consideration as a host city. But Orlando is on track to win its bid so long as final details regarding testing and hotel use are resolved. For the NBA, Orlando/Disney World’s controllability as a playing site — with a private property having the necessary complexes, hotels and amenities — has been the most appealing of all the possibilities all along.

As noted in the story, The Walt Disney Company owns ABC/ESPN, the NBA's primary media partner, so it makes sense that they'd be in the leader in the clubhouse. Major League Soccer is also reportedly looking at the prospect starting their season at Disney World Orlando as well.

As with everything related to COVID-19, there's always a possibility that changes in how the virus impacts society between now and when Adam Silver announces how the NBA will proceed could scuttle these or any other proposals for returning to play. But as of this moment, there does seem to be considerable optimism about the NBA returning some time soon.

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