Adding to the quiet talks that Major League Soccer could finish it’s season with a tournament-style event in Central Florida, the NBA confirmed Saturday it is in “exploratory” talks with Walt Disney World about resuming and completely the basketball season at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports.
Wide World of Sports features three arenas and dozens of courts that the NBA could put to use.
According to a statement from NBA Chief Communications Officer Mike Bass, the NBA, in conjunction with the National Basketball Players Association, is talking about using the complex as a single site of games, practices and housing.
“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 NBA was the first of the U.S. major pro leagues to suspend its season after it became known that All-Star center Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz tested positive for COVID-19 the night on of March 11. The list of NBA players who were known to test positive eventually grew to 10 — not all were identified — and Commissioner Adam Silver said last month that the actual total was even higher.
But before teams can gather and games can be please, steps would include all teams welcoming back players to their training facilities, a loosening of the restrictions for those voluntary workouts — no more than four players are currently allowed inside any facility at a time — and then a plan for when training camps could open. If the league plans to resume play in late July, then camps conceivably could open around the start of that month, the league said in a story at NBA.com.
Space won’t be an issue, even if Major League Soccer — which is also in talks to resume its season at Disney — is there at the same time as the NBA. The entire Disney complex is roughly 40 square miles, with nearly 24,000 hotel rooms owned or operated by Disney within the campus.