Not that there was any doubt for the Los Angeles Lakers considering their place atop the Western Conference standings, but they were among the 22 teams invited to participate in the NBA’s restart of the 2019-20 season at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, meaning they will get a chance to compete for a championship.
Although the Lakers were not considered to be a title favorite heading into the season, LeBron James and Anthony Davis proved to be a formidable duo and helped lead Los Angeles to the top of the Western Conference before things were put on hold.
Now, though, the pairing will reunite and hopefully lead the Lakers on a deep postseason run that hopefully culminates in a title. The NBA released a schedule of events leading up the season’s restart, and so far players have been asked to return to their home team’s market and begin mandatory coroanvirus (COVID-19) testing.
The testing portion will occur every other day leading up to a team’s arrival to Orlando. Based on the timeline provided, teams will be arriving to the bubble on a staggered schedule and according to Shams Charania of The Athletic, the Lakers will be one of the last teams to make the trip:
Sources: Travel dates for 22 NBA teams to Orlando:
– July 7: Nets, Nuggets, Magic, Suns, Jazz, Wizards
– July 8: Celtics, Mavericks, Clippers, Grizzlies, Heat, Pelicans, Thunder, Kings
– July 9: Rockets, Pacers, Lakers, Bucks, 76ers, Trail Blazers, Spurs, Raptors
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) June 25, 2020
This gives Los Angeles about two weeks to prepare for the flight to Walt Disney World, where they will be given an opportunity to practice as a group for the first time since March assuming everyone turns in a clean COVID-19 test.
According to health and safety protocols, players must turn in two negative tests at least 24 hours apart before they are cleared for basketball activity.
Unfortunately for the purple and gold, Avery Bradley will not be joining them in Orlando in order to take care of his family while also continuing his work to bring more awareness and raise action regarding social justice issues in the black community.
Dwight Howard is also mulling a decision to join the team, but has so far not tipped his hand on his plans.
Losing Bradley is a pretty big blow for the Lakers as he is tone setter for the defense and his absence shortens what was already a relatively thin guard group. Without Bradley, Alex Caruso figures to play more minutes, but L.A. may also be looking at players like JR Smith to sign during the open transaction window.
Fortunately, the Lakers command a sizable lead in the standings and with only eight regular season games to play they should be locked in their spot heading into the postseason.
Walt Disney World hotels
Once in Orlando, the Lakers will be among the teams checking into the Gran Destino Tower at Coronado Springs Resort. Also staying there are the Milwaukee Bucks, L.A. Clippers, Boston Celtics, Denver Nuggets, Utah Jazz and Miami Heat.
The Oklahoma City Thunder, Philadelphia 76ers, Houston Rockets, Indiana Pacers, Dallas Mavericks, New Jersey Nets, Memphis Grizzlies and Orlando Magic were assigned to the Grand Floridian.
Lastly, the Yacht Club will welcome the Portland Trail Blazers, Sacramento Kings, New Orleans Pelicans, San Antonio Spurs, Phoenix Suns and Washington Wizards.
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