By Field Level Media-Reuters
Disney World has emerged as the front-runner to host NBA teams and games if the 2020 season resumes, The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported Wednesday.
Orlando has moved ahead of Las Vegas as the top neutral-site candidate, according to Charania.
ESPN reported Wednesday that the league is still weighing a return with action in both Orlando and Las Vegas.
Commissioner Adam Silver said on May 12 he wanted to decide within “two to four weeks” whether the NBA would attempt to resume the season halted on March 11 due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
According to ESPN, Silver and owners reached agreement on the preference of a “campus environment” for the health and safety of the players and teams, as well as the general public.
The league is set to issue protocols around June 1 regarding the return of out-of-town players to teams, ESPN reported Wednesday.
The same approximate timeframe is when clubs are expected to be able to boost training from the current socially distanced structure.
Per ESPN, the NBA’s plan calls for a two-week stretch for the return of players to allow for quarantine periods as needed per local regulations, one to two weeks of solo training at team sites and two to three weeks of a full training camp.
The end result could be the league giving the go-ahead in June for games to start in July, ESPN reported.
On the most recent Board of Governors call, owners and executives were encouraged about the league’s steps toward returning safely amid the coronavirus pandemic and about positive conversations with the National Basketball Players Association, per ESPN.
The concept of a resort setting — the type of location that would allow all NBA teams to be housed in a controlled environment — was floated first in late March when Silver called upon teams to submit all ideas for an eventual return. The Bahamas was also mentioned as a possibility.
The report added that Silver emphasized that in order for a return to occur, all parties would need to accept that a single positive test for COVID-19 would not derail the season.
If a positive test would “shut us down, we probably shouldn’t go down this path,” Silver said, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
The league suspended play March 11 after Utah Jazz All-Star center Rudy Gobert tested positive for the virus.