Barring a last-minute change of plans, the NBA will return on July 30 at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando. I say “last-minute” because, according to a report from Shams Charania of The Athletic on Thursday, teams are expected to leave for Walt Disney World in less than two weeks.
Per the report, the Los Angeles Lakers will leave to Orlando on July 9, which is 16 days from the day the team was tested for the coronavirus.
Sources: Travel dates for 22 NBA teams to Orlando:— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) June 25, 2020
- July 7: Nets, Nuggets, Magic, Suns, Jazz, Wizards
- July 8: Celtics, Mavericks, Clippers, Grizzlies, Heat, Pelicans, Thunder, Kings
- July 9: Rockets, Pacers, Lakers, Bucks, 76ers, Trail Blazers, Spurs, Raptors
Once the Lakers arrive to their temporary home in Orlando, the Gran Destino Tower at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort, player swill have to return two negative coronavirus tests that are at least 24 hours apart before they can resume basketball activities, according to a report from Charania earlier this month.
Two players from the Lakers tested positive for the coronavirus in March. There have been no reported cases from the team since.
Upon meeting the testing requirements, the Lakers will be permitted to hold group workouts. The Lakers reopened their practice facility on May 16, but haven’t held group workouts (at least not there) in accordance with the NBA’s healthy and safety guidelines.
Assuming it only takes two days for each player to get cleared, the Lakers will have a little over two weeks to try and get back into game shape before the season starts again. Granted, the Lakers are in a position where they can treat the remaining games on their schedule like preseason games, but that’s still not a lot of time for them — or anyone — to get their legs back under them, especially following a four-month hiatus.
The NBA has a plan. Only time will tell if it’s a good one.
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