Report: Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando a “clear frontrunner” to be site of 2019-20 NBA season return

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LAKE BUENA VISTA, FL – MARCH 19: In this handout photo provided by Disney Parks, in a special moment for Magic Kingdom guests, the U.S. Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, the Blue Angels, streaked across the skies above, Cinderella Castle March 19, 2015 at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. The flyover featured the Blue Angels’ six-jet F/A-18 Hornet Delta Formation making two dramatic passes above the Magic Kingdom, with Cinderella Castle as a focal point, en route to an air show in Florida. (Photo by Mariah Wild/Disney Parks via Getty Images)

Ever since the NBA season was suspended two months ago, the consensus within the NBA was that a return to the 2019-20 season would have to be done in an isolated environment. The term “bubble city” has been thrown around, a location where all NBA players and staff can reside to only come in contact with one another while finishing the rest of the 2019-20 season, albeit without fans. Las Vegas was mentioned early on, due to its basketball infrastructure from many camps throughout the years, as well as the NBA’s Summer League which happens there every year. However, a few weeks ago it was reported that Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando was being considered, as the theme park has a similar infrastructure of basketball courts as Las Vegas.

It is now being reported by Shams Charania and Sam Amick of The Athletic that not only is Orlando being considered, but it is also now the frontrunner to host the 2019-20 season if it were to resume.

To add to the report, Keith Smith (previously of Yahoo Sports) adds the following that is reportedly from someone within Disney:

To be clear, this does not mean that the NBA is anywhere closer than where it previously was to return to play. There’s still plenty of hurdles to get over to return, as well as plenty of logistics that need to be worked out in regards to playing safely within the confines of Walt Disney World Resort. However, reading in between the lines, the fact that this has been leaked to two high members of the press should be looked at as a positive sign of return. The NBA is at least continuing down the path of some plan. Now, it remains to be seen if trends regarding the coronavirus will improve, allowing the NBA to even do this. Many other national health aspects will have to improve for the NBA to even come close.

We’ll see how the next few weeks go, as it was also reported that Adam Silver stated a decision regarding the season could be made in the next few weeks. Stay tuned.

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