Report: NBA sees Disney World in Orlando as front-runner for restart
The NBA is beginning to view Disney World in Orlando as the “clear front-runner” option for the 2019-20 season to restart with coronavirus precautions in place, reports The Athletic’s Shams Charania and Sam Amick.
Yahoo! Sports’ Keith Smith, who was first to report on the potential fit for Orlando to host a resumed season, added Wednesday that Walt Disney World expects the NBA to play in Orlando.
“We are confident we’ll be hosting the NBA in some fashion,” a source told Smith. “It may not be the entire league, but we believe the NBA will be here to at least finish part of their season. Still hurdles to cross, but we are preparing as if that is the case.”
Smith adds that Disney has already begun reworking event spaces to host teams and that an NBA source said that it being on private property, which is easily controllable from a security and safety standpoint, is appealing to the league.
The NBA has also considered Las Vegas as a location to host teams for a restart. The potential to use Walt Disney World as a staging area for team hotels and games is made easy because ESPN, which Disney owns, already has relationships with the NBA.
The league began allowing teams to reopen practice facilities on May 8, given they met the safety guidelines in their corresponding state for the COVID-19 pandemic. There are still no group or team workouts.
A league bubble in Orlando or multiple cities means the Phoenix Suns’ potential of playing games at their temporary home, Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum, could be in doubt.
The Suns have begun participating in limited voluntary workouts at the Coliseum, the team confirmed on Monday.
The Coliseum is where the Suns must practice as they continue $230 million renovations on Talking Stick Resort Arena and wait until their new practice facility on 44th Street and Camelback Road is constructed.
Phoenix players are currently working out in a one-player, one-staff member fashion because of the precautions in place to prevent the spread of the virus.
The team has placed its court in the Coliseum, the franchise’s original arena from 1968-1992, and had prepared to resume the regular season in its old home if the NBA allows teams to play on their home courts. That’s assuming the regular season resumes and the league does not jump straight into a postseason.