Woj: NBA's Return-to-Play Plan Involving Orlando Site Has 'A Lot of Traction'

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistMay 19, 2020

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With the NBA likely to use a limited number of locations for any return to the court this season, Orlando, Florida, may be edging ahead of Las Vegas in the race to serve as host.

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski said Tuesday on The Dan Patrick Show that Orlando "has had a lot of traction," though he added a two-city plan remains on the table:

Dan Patrick Show @dpshow

We had @WojEspn on last hour. He told us that the NBA is focused on bringing NBA games back to one or two sites, not their home arenas. Orlando and Las Vegas are the front runners. Hit the link to watch Hour 3 live: https://t.co/fBpTPiKib2 https://t.co/pPkRgcs9Wy

Wojnarowski reported May 8 that NBA Commissioner Adam Silver had a conference call with representatives from the National Basketball Players Association and NBPA executive director Michele Roberts.

Silver said moving the league's operations to one or two cities "made the most sense" amid the COVID-19 pandemic: "There's no point in adding risk for flying all of you city to city if there's not going to be fans. We think it would be safer to be in a single location, or two locations, to start."

Las Vegas and Orlando (specifically the Walt Disney World Resort) would provide not only the venues but also plenty of accommodations for all of the personnel necessary to stage games.

Las Vegas already hosts the bulk of the NBA's summer league, with games at Thomas and Mack Center and Cox Pavilion. The city has a number of other arenas (T-Mobile Arena, Mandalay Bay Events Center and MGM Grand Garden Arena) that could be used as well.

Still, Yahoo Sports' Keith Smith wrote in April that Disney World might work better. The NBA would have tighter control over travel and accessibility, and the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex contains three arenas (HP Field House, Visa Center and The Arena) that could work for games.

Any final decision about the NBA's restart could be weeks away. According to Wojnarowski, Silver indicated the league could wait until as late as mid-June before hammering out the important details.