Report: LA's Staples Center Expressed Interest in Hosting NBA Games After Hiatus

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistMay 22, 2020

A man wearing a face mask walks in front of the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles, California, on May 9, 2020, during the novel coronavirus pandemic. - Events that involve mass gatherings, like sporting events and concerts, are unlikely to reopen until the threat of the novel coronavirus has largely passed. (Photo by Apu GOMES / AFP) (Photo by APU GOMES/AFP via Getty Images)
APU GOMES/Getty Images

The Staples Center in Los Angeles threw its name into the hat as the NBA considers host sites for a return to play, with the league reportedly considering a single site or two sites to host all of the league's games at some point this summer. 

According to Dan Woike of the Los Angeles Times, "Staples Center expressed interest in hosting the NBA's return, with L.A. Live acting as the hub with hotel and dining options and direct access to the arena, but serious conversations never materialized, according to people familiar with the situation."

Both Woike and ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski and Zach Lowe have reported that Orlando's Walt Disney World and Las Vegas are two of the sites under consideration. Woike added that Houston is still being considered as well. 

Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium reported Wednesday that Orlando is a "clear frontrunner" to be a host city:

Shams Charania @ShamsCharania

The NBA has Orlando/Disney World as a clear frontrunner for return-to-play site for resuming 2019-20 season, sources tell me and @sam_amick. Orlando has gained significant seriousness among other cites such as Las Vegas.

The central idea seems to be to gather players, coaching staffs, essential personnel and families in one or two locations, where the players could be quarantined before returning to play and regularly tested during the COVID-19 pandemic. That makes a location with courts, gyms, hotels and restaurants—all within a close proximity—ideal. 

Los Angeles Lakers player Jared Dudley said Wednesday that players wouldn't be confined to the site completely, however. 

"You will be allowed to leave," he told reporters, per Dave McMenamin of ESPN. "Now just because you leave, if we're going to give you that leeway, if you come back with corona, you can't play."

And Brooklyn Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie said on Twitter that the league is hoping to restart playing games on July 15:

Spencer Dinwiddie @SDinwiddie_25

That’s just practice... I heard those last 5 games at bubble site start July 15th. https://t.co/EsF3omehYQ

So all indications are pointing to a return to play this summer. As Woike reported, "According to people with knowledge of the NBA's thinking, there is plenty of confidence that the league will return to play to finish the 2019-20 season. The mechanics of that return—the when, the where and the how—are still fluid."

The details need to be ironed out, but basketball fans may be safe to start getting excited about the NBA returning.