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Signs point toward the NBA resuming its season on July 31 at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Florida, per reports from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Shams Charania of Stadium and The Athletic.
Many logistics still need to be ironed out, however, and one of them involves if and when families can join players at the Orlando location.
Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press reported the following on that front:
“Nothing official yet, but some NBA players expect a scenario where their families won’t be able to be with them at the Disney complex until sometime in September, AP is told. Many details—including this—remain uncertain but this is the belief some players have at this point.”
The NBA season was suspended on March 11 after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19. The league has been on hiatus since then.
On Wednesday, ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne and Wojnarowski reported the NBA and NBPA were working on the logistics surrounding families joining players in what will act as a bubble of sorts around their area of Disney World.
“The NBA and National Basketball Players Association are progressing on a plan that would allow for a limited number of family members to join the players for the season’s resumption inside an Orlando, Florida, bubble environment, sources told ESPN on Wednesday.
“Conversations have centered on the timing of family arrivals at Walt Disney World Resort, which are likely to start once an initial wave of teams are eliminated and the number of people within the league’s bubble decreases, sources said.
“Family members would be subjected to the same safety and coronavirus testing protocols as everyone else living in the NBA’s biosphere, sources said.“
The NBA has focused on finishing its season in one location to restrict travel and keep players, coaches, team staff and other support staff as safe as possible amid the pandemic.
The downside for players, of course, is that they’d be away from their families unless they were a member of the Orlando Magic. Allowing families into the bubble alleviates that problem, however.
Given the proposed timing, though, some players may not be with their families for a full month given the proposed July 31 start date and Reynolds’ note about a September start time for families reuniting with NBA stars.
It’s also possible that some players’ seasons may be over within a month, as the league is considering a “playoffs-plus” format with a shortened regular season before jumping into postseason play in an attempt to finish the 2019-20 campaign.