Sources: Many In NBA Believe Games Will Resume In Late July
Many NBA owners, execs and NBPA elders believe Commissioner Adam Silver "will green-light the return to play in June -- with games expected to resume sometime before the end of July," according to sources cited by Wojnarowski & Lowe of ESPN.com. Sources said that NBA teams are "expecting the league office will issue guidelines around June 1 that will allow franchises to start recalling players who've left their markets as a first step toward a formal ramp-up for the season's resumption." Sources added that teams "expect a similar timeline from the league on when they'll be allowed to expand individual workouts already underway with in-market players to include more team personnel." Sources also noted that the league is "discussing a step-by-step plan for a resumption of the season that includes an initial two-week recall of players into team marketplaces for a period of quarantine, one to two weeks of individual workouts at team facilities, and a two- to three-week formal training camp" (ESPN.com, 5/20).
DESTINATION ORLANDO? THE ATHLETIC's Charania & Amick cited sources as saying that Orlando’s Walt Disney World Resort is the "clear frontrunner to become the NBA’s playing site" to resume the season (THEATHLETIC.com, 5/20). In L.A., Kyle Goon reported Lakers F Jared Dudley "characterized conversations with the player’s union as leaving some opening for players to have the ability to leave the site." Dudley said that Silver and NBPA Exec Dir Michele Roberts "indicated that some movement would be permitted." Dudley: “It’s going to be a bubble in the sense of here’s gonna be your hotel where you stay at, here’s gonna be the gym where you play at, but you will be allowed to leave" (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 5/21).
DETAILS TO WORK OUT: In N.Y., Marc Berman writes the "biggest question still unanswered is format, including how many teams will be brought back to play" (N.Y. POST, 5/21). Also in N.Y., Kristian Winfield writes the "prevailing thought" since the NBA suspended play on March 11 had been that the league "would relocate its teams to a bubble city and include frequent testing as a measure of mitigating the virus’ spread" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 5/21).
IF YOU WANT SOMETHING DONE RIGHT: THE RINGER's Kevin O'Connor reported close to 400 people from about half of the league’s teams have "voluntarily participated in Mayo Clinic’s antibodies study." Roberts said that that players were "fully on board with providing samples." O'Connor writes the NBA’s primary objective is to "help a study that could be integral to the recovery efforts of the entire U.S. -- including every person involved with the NBA, from concession workers to security at arenas" (THERINGER.com, 4/20). However, there are team execs who are "frustrated" that the league's return process has been "slowed by the lack of widespread COVID-19 testing" on a national level. One Western Conference exec said, "Selfishly, we could know a lot more about where we stand by now, and it would have allowed Adam and the players to work on more solid plans" (BOSTON HERALD, 5/21).
LEADING THE WAY: In N.Y., Mike Vaccaro writes under the header, "NBA Leading The Way Back Is How It Should Be." Vaccaro writes, "There seems to be a leader in charge -- Adam Silver -- who all parties trust, certainly in relation to the way most of these relationships have always been in pro sports" (N.Y. POST, 5/21).