After months of uncertainty, we finally have an idea when and where the Los Angeles Lakers will play their next game. According to a report by Sam Amick and Shams Charania of The Athletic, the NBA is hoping to resume its season at Walt Disney World in Orlando in July, and teams could start preparing for that scenario as soon as next month:
Orlando’s Walt Disney World Resort is the clear frontrunner to become the NBA’s playing site to resume the 2019-20 season amid the coronavirus pandemic, sources told The Athletic.
The NBA is in serious discussions with Disney about the property, which has gained clear momentum over cities such as Las Vegas, sources said. It remains unclear when the games would begin, but multiple sources say the prospect of players fully training in mid-June and playing by mid-July has been the most popular and possible scenario discussed. NBA commissioner Adam Silver told the Board of Governors on May 12 that he aims to decide on the season in two-to-four weeks, and that he wants to wait as long as he can to make final decisions.
As this report notes, none of the details have been finalized yet, but there is enough smoke to believe there’s fire. Shortly after The Athletic’s report dropped on Wednesday, Adrian Wojnarowski and Zach Lowe of ESPN reported that the NBA is expected to allow teams to call back their players, many of whom returned home during the pandemic. For example, Dwight Howard is in Atlanta, while Dion Waiters in Miami.
In addition, it sounds like teams could get the green light to resume team practices in June:
Earlier this week, California governor Gavin Newsom said that professional sports in California could return in June if cases continue to trend in the right direction, and the initial reaction was that it wasn’t going to change much for the Lakers, who likely won’t play another game at Staples Center this season. However, if the NBA is planning to have teams organize training camps in their respective practice facilities, like Marc Stein of The New York Times reported on Tuesday, the Lakers would theoretically be able to do that with the state’s permission. That’s a huge step for them.
Again, nothing is set in stone yet, and there are still hurdles the league has to clear before they can safely return, but for the first time in a while, the wheels are starting to churn.