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Orlando's Disney World favourite to host NBA season amid coronavirus pandemic

Thursday 21 May 2020 09:41, UK

The Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida pictured following the US lockdown 3:01
Gametime analyst Greg Anthony says Orlando and Las Vegas make the most sense as locations for the NBA to resume the 2019-20 season

Disney World has emerged as the front-runner to host NBA teams and games if the 2020 season resumes, according to a media report.

The Athletic understands that Orlando has moved ahead of Las Vegas as the top neutral-site candidate to become the NBA's playing venue for the remainder of the season, but ESPN have reported the league is still considering a two-site format in both Orlando and Las Vegas.

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NBA commissioner Adam Silver said on May 12 he wanted to decide within "two to four weeks" whether the NBA would attempt to resume the season halted on March 11 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

According to ESPN, Silver and owners reached agreement on the preference of a "campus environment" for the health and safety of the players and teams, as well as the general public.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver addresses the media at All-Star Weekend
Image: NBA commissioner Adam Silver wants a 'campus environment' to resume the season

The concept of a resort setting - the type of location that would allow all NBA teams to be housed in a controlled environment - was floated first in late March when Silver called upon teams to submit all ideas for an eventual return, with the Bahamas also mentioned as a possibility.

ESPN have also reported the league is set to issue protocols around June 1 regarding the return of out-of-town players to teams, when it is also expected to be able to boost training from the current socially distanced structure.

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Per ESPN, the NBA's plan calls for a two-week stretch for the return of players to allow for quarantine periods as needed per local regulations, one to two weeks of solo training at team sites and two to three weeks of a full training camp.

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ESPN's report added the league could give the go-ahead in June for games to start in July after owners and executives were encouraged by a Board of Governors call and positive conversations with the National Basketball Players Association about the league's steps toward returning safely amid the coronavirus pandemic.

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The report added that Silver emphasised that in order for a return to occur, all parties would need to accept that a single positive test for coronavirus would not derail the season.

If a positive test would "shut us down, we probably shouldn't go down this path," Silver said, per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

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The league suspended play March 11 after Utah Jazz All-Star center Rudy Gobert tested positive for the virus.

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