NBA eyeing July return to play
|Toronto Star 23 May 2020 at 13:58|
The NBA has taken its boldest, most public step to a resumption of the 2019-20 season suspended in March because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The league said Saturday it’s eyeing a late-July return to play in Orlando, Fla., while keeping in mind health concerns and government restrictions.
“Our priority continues to be the health and safety of all involved, and we are working with public health experts and government officials on a comprehensive set of guidelines to ensure that appropriate medical protocols and protections are in place,” a statement from league spokesman Mike Bass said.
The league and players association are engaged in “exploratory” talks with vast Disney-ESPN complex in Orlando for a late-July re-start to the season that was suspended March 11 with the first public announcement of a player testing positive for the coronavirus.
Still to be determined is the scope of the resumption of play such as whether it would involved all 30 league teams, just the 16 who were in playoff spots or some hybrid plan that would include some kind of play-in process to a playoff tournament.
Still to be determined as well would be how team would be allowed to prepare for returning to play. There are still league markets where teams are not allowed to even open their training facilities to players.
The Raptors have opened their OVO Training Centre on the western edge of the Exhibition grounds but only under strict guidelines that include only one player being allowed in the building at one time.
As well, issues abound with Toronto over the closed border with the United States. About half the players on the 17-man roster has been in the United States since late March and would have to go through a federal government-mandated 14-day quarantine after returning to Canada. How that would factor into any training camp or resumption of full practices is still to be worked out.