The NBA is in talks with The Walt Disney Company about a single-site scenario for resuming the game in central Florida in late July. This is the clearest sign that the league believes the season can continue in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.
The National Basketball Players Association is also part of the talks with Disney, the league said on Saturday. The games would take place at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, a huge campus on the Disney property near Orlando.
NBA spokesman Mike Bass said the talks were still "exploratory" and the Disney site was also being used for practices and residential purposes.
"Our priority remains the health and safety of all concerned. We work with public health experts and government officials on comprehensive guidelines to ensure that appropriate medical protocols and safeguards are in place," said Bass.
The ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex is a 255-hectare campus with multiple arenas where games can take place simultaneously. The Jr. NBA World Championship has taken place in recent years. ESPN, one of the NBA's broadcast partners, is primarily owned by Disney.
Space will not be a problem, even though Major League Soccer – which is also under discussion to continue its Disney season – is there at the same time as the NBA. The entire Disney complex is approximately 60 square kilometers and includes nearly 24,000 hotel rooms owned or operated by Disney on campus.
The NBA suspended its season on March 11, making it the first major US pro league after it was announced that Utah Jazz's All-Star Center Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19 .
The list of NBA players known to test positive eventually grew to 10 – not all of them were identified – and Commissioner Adam Silver said last month that the actual total was even higher.
But the league has been working on countless return-to-play scenarios for several weeks, all with the limitation that testing would be an integral part of any resumption of the season.
It is not known where the NBA is currently securing tests or developing extensive test protocols. Also unclear: How many regular season games would be played before the start of the postseason – or whether all 30 teams would play. The league has asked the team's general managers for additional input on these issues.
The Los Angeles Lakers' Jared Dudley said in a conference call with reporters on Wednesday that he believes the playoffs will always be the traditional best-of-seven format whenever they start.
"This is the money winner when it comes to Disney," said Dudley. "That's why we're going to be in Orlando. Disney owns ESPN. They make their money there. During the playoffs and finals, all seven games will be there. I'm almost 100% sure of that."
Central Florida has been known as a viable option for an NBA restart since at least mid-April, and other cities – such as Las Vegas, which also has a longstanding relationship with the NBA – have also been considered
Florida has confirmed just over 50,000 COVID-19 cases, although more than half of them are in the counties of Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach and not in the Orlando region.
Gov. Ron DeSantis said he wanted the state to be open to professional athletes, and even told non-Florida-based franchises that they could come and train in Sunshine State, with restrictions that prevent this from happening on their own Regions exist.
“Places open up. Let's not forget that COVID is not magically less contagious now, ”tweeted Malcolm Miller of the Toronto Raptors on Saturday. "The virus itself didn't get better … stay safe."
Since May 8, teams have been able to welcome players back to their training facilities for voluntary sessions, and more than half of the league's franchises have taken advantage of this opportunity.
The next steps on the way back to the game would likely be to relax the restrictions on these voluntary training sessions – currently no more than four players are allowed in one facility at a time – and then a training camp plan could open. If the league wants to play again in late July, the camps could possibly open earlier this month.
The rescheduling of at least some regular season games could be a great advantage for the players, although some teams are not represented in the playoff mix.
The league can earn about 1.08% of a player's salary for every regular season game that is not played if what the collective agreement between the league and its players describes as an "event of force majeure" is the legal term unforeseeable circumstances such as an epidemic or pandemic are enacted.
The more regular season games are played, the less money the players lose.
You can find more news about the new type of corona virus here.
What You Need to Know About Corona Virus.
For more information on COVID-19, please contact the DOH hotline: (02) 86517800 local 1149/1150.
The Inquirer Foundation supports our frontliners in health care and continues to accept donations that should be paid into the current account # 007960018860 of the Banco de Oro (BDO) or donated via this link via PayMaya.
EDITORS & # 39; PICK
Don't miss the latest news and information.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer and others over 70 titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to news, download at 4am and share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.