NBA exploring July season return at Disney's ESPN Wide World of Sports in Orlando

After 10 weeks of the NBA season shutdown, the league office continues to explore alternatives to resume the 2019-20 season.

The NBA is currently in discussions with Disney about resuming the season at ESPN Wide World of Sports in Orlando as a single-site, with a timeline of late July earmarked.

NBA spokesman Mike Bass said the discussions at this point were still "exploratory," with the 255-acre campus which features multiple arenas, to be used for practices and housing as well.

"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."

How will the games be played?

The Athletic's Shams Charania reported Saturday, that the league surveyed all 30 team General Managers to discuss potential formats to resume play, including:

  • Resuming the regular season with all 30 teams and then commence the playoffs
  • Advancing directly to the playoffs, based on the standings from March 12
  • A 'playoff-plus' idea which would expand the number of teams competing for a playoff spot with a play-in tournament

With multiple courts available at the WWOS campus, the NBA could see games played throughout the day in a similar style to Las Vegas Summer League.

Disney World x NBA

Following initial reports that Las Vegas could serve as a single-site for the NBA to resume, Disney World in Florida emerged as a potential candidate.

ESPN's Wide World of Sports Complex is a 255-acre campus with multiple arenas and can house players, families as well as NBA team staff, officials and event staff in an isolated bubble.

The campus has hosted the Jr. NBA World Championship in recent years, with the Disney complex featuring nearly 24,000 hotel rooms

Testing protocols

In order to resume the season, rigorous testing protocols will need to be implemented to ensure the health and safety of both players, officials, and staff.

According to a Charania, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver informed players on a call on May 8, that the league expects to have daily coronavirus testing for players, with no stoppage in play necessary should a player test positive, with anyone who tests positive to go into self-isolation in their hotel room.

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