In the wake of NBA teams reopening their practice facilities earlier this month, professional basketball looks to be drawing closer than ever to its return. Now, the notion that the 2019-20 NBA season could actually be concluded in spite of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is seemingly one step closer to becoming reality, following an announcement that the league is engaged in talks to resume play at Orlando’s Wide World of Sports Complex at Disney World in Florida.
Per a statement from the NBA’s Chief Communications Officer, Mike Bass, which was shared via Twitter on Saturday, the league has been in discussion with The Walt Disney Company about using the venue, with a reported target of late July for returning to play.
According to Bass’ statement, the location would provide a single site for games, practices, and housing for players, coaches, and essential staff.
“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.”
Bass also maintained that the priority continues to be the health and safety of everyone involved, and stated that the league is working with medical experts and government officials to establish strict guidelines for a safe resumption of play.
Presently, it is unclear whether the NBA aims to finish out the remainder of its schedule entirely, or if the new calendar would be truncated, including a potential jump directly to the 2020 NBA Playoffs.
According to an ESPN report, the NBA has a board of governors call slated for next Friday, at which point it is presumed that details regarding the timetable and plan for proceeding with the season will be revealed.
The league has been in something of a holding pattern since March 11 when it became the first major sports organization in the U.S. to suspend play indefinitely as a response to the worldwide coronavirus crisis. That move came as a result of Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert testing positive for infection ahead of a game against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Since that time, several other NBA players have tested positive.
Although the U.S. continues to see thousands of new confirmed coronavirus cases daily, other sports organizations have already moved toward resuming business and competition. As reported previously by The Inquisitr, the UFC held an event in Florida earlier this month, drawing praise from President Donald Trump for doing so.
Additionally, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has extended multiple invitations to leagues looking for venues to safely hold events and competitions.