The NBA return-to-play got closer to reality Friday with the players union agreeing to the core concepts in the league’s plan to bring 22 teams to ESPN’s Wide World of Sports at Walt Disney World in central Florida for the fan-less games.
Each of the 22 teams will play eight games in a “seeding” series, then 16 teams with advance to the playoffs. The latest possible date for a Finals Game 7 is October 12. Players will report to training camp at their team’s practice facilities on June 21, then head to Lake Buena Vista, the home of Disney World, on July 7.
All 28 team reps on the conference call approved the plan, but Michelle Roberts. the union’s executive director, said certain aspects of the plan were still subject to negotiations, specifically the short turnaround between the end of the 2019-20 season in mid-October and the beginning of the 2020-21 season six weeks later.
Two Nets players, Kyrie Irving and Garrett Temple, are NBPA vice-presidents.
- A plan to play 2-to-3 exhibition games before regular season
- 1,600 maximum people on the Disney “campus” which will include the ESPN facility as well as the resort where players will be sequestered, starting in early July
- Coronavirus testing every day; minimum seven days of quarantine for a player who tests positive
- Players and family must stay inside the ‘bubble;’ families can enter after the first round
- If a player contracts the virus, the NBA says they plan to continue playing
- The NBPA told players 2020-21 season starting on Dec. 1 is “unlikely” and plans to negotiate the date
- NBPA will conduct coronavirus testing every night, likely mouth swabs/light nasal swabs and not the full invasive nasal swab
- Minimum seven days quarantine for a player if positive.
- There could be crowd noise via NBA 2K video game sounds, but the NBA and NBPA is still discussing creative opportunities
- Players are expected to return to full paychecks this summer, after taking a 25 percent reduction in May
- Family limit for NBA players in Orlando: Three people, with some exceptions.
- There is a proposed 35-person travel party limit, about 20 fewer than a normal travel party.
- There is an expected three-hour practice window for teams, with two courts and weight rooms in the convention center
- The NBPA also informed players that they will not be blood tested while in Orlando to resume the season — such as for materials that fall in the anti-drug policy.
Beyond the conference call, Woj reported that the front offices of the eight teams left out of the ‘bubble’ want to somehow engage their players during the summer, even if they’re not playing for a title.
ESPN Sources: Fearful of setbacks in development of young players over months of inactivity, several teams left out of Orlando resumption have proposed ideas to NBA for regional mini-summer leagues, training camps and OTA's. https://t.co/yka9zZAFGI— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 6, 2020
Smith reported that Disney will try to provide NBA players and ultimately their families with a “unique” experience even though they won’t be permitted at the resorts’ parks. Smith quoted a Disney source saying...
“As with NBA personnel, we are prepared to support whatever decisions the NBA makes regarding family members. Like NBA personnel, it is unlikely they will visit our theme parks. If so, we will have plenty of other family-friendly activities for them.”
- Sources reveal details from Friday’s call with the players association - Shams Charania - The Athletic NBA
- As N.B.A. Mulled Return, Financial Needs Emerged as Central - Marc Stein & Brooks Barnes - New York Times
- Shut Out of Disney World, Where Do These N.B.A. Teams Go Next? - Sopan Deb - New York Times