The NBA could very well be making its way to the home of none other than Mickey Mouse.
Wednesday evening, Shams Charania of The Athletic broke the news that Orlando’s Walt Disney World has emerged as the “clear frontrunner” to host the NBA once the 2019-20 season resumes.
According to the report, the NBA is in “serious discussions” with Disney about the property, with games potentially set to resume by mid-July.
“The NBA is in serious discussions with Disney about the property, which has gained clear momentum over cities such as Las Vegas,” Charania reported. “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.”
The NBA has also considered the likes of Las Vegas and Houston, but Orlando is holding firm as the solid leader to win its bid to host, “so long as final details regarding testing and hotel use are resolved.”
“While the league has explored the possibility of holding games in multiple cities, it appears likely that Orlando would be a sole host,” Charania continued. “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.
“NBA commissioner Adam Silver informed players on a May 8 call that he hopes that the league is able to have daily testing, no stoppage of play if and when a player tests positive, and isolating anyone who does test positive in a quarantine. Silver also told the Board of Governors last week that he does not expect a “medical bubble” — but an environment in which people can re-enter and undergo retesting.”
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski then reported that the league office is expected to issue official guidelines outlining a return to play on or around June 1
“NBA teams are expecting the league office will issue guidelines around June 1 that will allow franchises to start recalling players who’ve left their markets as a first step toward a formal ramp-up for the season’s resumption,” Wojnarowski reported. “Teams expect a similar timeline from the league on when they’ll be allowed to expand individual workouts already underway with in-market players to include more team personnel, sources said.”
Like Charania of The Athletic, Wojnarowski is hearing that there will be individual workouts and a formal training camp before games resume “sometime before the end of July.”
“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,” Wojnarowski reported. “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.”
We don’t have an official date for return yet, but it’s clear that the NBA is gearing up for a return to play sooner rather than later.