The National Basketball Association is having what it terms “exploratory conversations” with the Walt Disney Co. about resuming its postponed season.
The league issued a statement Saturday on its Twitter account. If the talks bear fruit, the season would resume in late July at Disney’s ESPN complex in Orlando as a “single site for an NBA campus for games, practices, and housing,” the statement said.
The NBA has been rumored to be considering a single site for its resumption for some time, with Las Vegas also allegedly under consideration. If the league resumes, there would be a brief training camp. About 16 games remained in the regular season when the league abruptly pulled the plug in March. That move came after two Utah Jazz players tested positive for COVID-19. The NBA was the first major sports league to halt operations, but the NHL, Major League Baseball, XFL and Major League Soccer quickly followed.
Milwaukee Bucks co-owner Marc Lasry told CNBC the NBA has a board of governors call next Friday where discussions about restarting will continue.
“I think we’ll have something, hopefully within the next 6 to 8 weeks, we should be playing,” said Lasry, who appeared on CNBC’s Halftime Report on Friday.
There are a host of issues to be determined in resuming the season. They include the structure of the league playoffs, what happens if a team has a player contract the virus, where players would be housed, who would be allowed to attend the games, and whether families could be on lockdown with their husbands and fathers in Orlando needs to be determined.
Disney via its ESPN outlet and Turner Sports’s TBS pay the NBA roughly $2.6 billion per year for national media rights.
On May 8, the league officially allowed teams to reopen practice sites in cities where stay-at-home orders are relaxed.