Report: NBA in 'Exploratory Conversations' for Late-July Restart in Orlando

Michael Shapiro

The NBA has entered "exploratory conversations," to resume the 2019-20 season at Disney's ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, according to ESPN's Ramona Shelburne.

The league is reportedly eyeing a return to play in late July, per Shelburne. 

"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 spokesperson Mike Bass told Shelburne. "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."

ESPN's Wide World of Sports complex contains three arenas and "ample hotel accommodations," per Shelburne. The complex sits on 220 acres. 

The NBA is reportedly exploring a slate of contingencies for how to resume play once it is deemed safe to return. There may be regular-season games held after the COVID-19 suspension, though the league could dive right into the 2020 playoffs upon the season's return. 

The NBA's 30 general managers were sent a survey on Friday night, asking for their vote on the potential postseason format. There could be a traditional set of four, seven-game series, or the league could use a "playoffs-plus," format, per The Athletic's Shams Charania. The expanded playoffs could feature either a play-in tournament, or a group stage for the opening round of the playoffs.

The 2019-20 season was officially suspended on March 11 after Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19. No official return date has been set for the season to resume, though a slate of teams have returned to their respective practice facilities in recent weeks. 

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