The NBA announced it has begun talks with Disney World Resort to host the remainder of the 2019-20 season beginning at the end of July.
“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,” NBA chief communications officer Mike Bass said in a statement.
“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.”
The home of the Los Angeles Lakers, Staples Center, put in a bid to host the remainder of the season, but it doesn’t come as much of a surprise that the league is moving forward with the rumored Disney World plan that has been in the works for weeks. Las Vegas was also another city vying to host.
As it currently stands, the NBA still has a lot of safety and financial issues to work out, among other things, before a return to playing basketball can be possible. Once they nail down a location though, which it seems they have done, then they could start talking about more logistics for finishing out the season.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver is reportedly hoping to keep all playoff series at best-of-seven games, although how many teams make the players, how many regular-season games will be played, etc. all remain to be seen.
Regardless of the format, it is certainly positive news to see universal optimism about the return of sports for really the first time since the NBA was shut down in the middle of March due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. If games are able to be played as soon as late July then the season would likely go through the beginning of September, pushing the start of the 2020-21 season to December.
As far as this season goes, the Lakers are currently the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference and were playing their best basketball when everything got shut down. If they are able to regain that form then they definitely will be in the mix to win championship No. 17, even with this crazy format in place.