We're finally seeing some positive momentum to the season re-starting, and a big part of the playoffs could take part at Disney in Orlando.
Credit to Keith Smith, RealGM's own, who first brought the idea to light almost a month ago and it seems like it's finally coming to fruition.
Disney has an abundance of hotel rooms on their 39 square-mile property near Orlando, Florida. Two hotels would work particularly well for this type of venture: Disney’s Art of Animation Resort and Disney’s Pop Century Resort. While neither are necessarily the high-end hotels that NBA players are used to staying in, they come with a key perk: Both are located just down the road from the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.
You would also need space for practices. Teams aren’t going to jump right back into the season and just start playing games. They are going to need some form of a mini-training camp leading up to the resumed season. They will also need practice space throughout the remainder of the season.
The ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex can offer all of that.
It really does seem like a no-brainer. With Disney's abundance of hotels and campus-like structure, it's probably more equipped than any other place to isolate a large number of people and accommodate them comfortably. And IIRC, Disney's Wide World of Sports had a pavilion of about 8 full basketball courts. The NBA, if they wanted to, could run multiple games or practices at one time. I know a lot of high schools and AAU teams do so there.
The biggest hurdle the NBA had to get over was making sure the players were on board, which it appears is the case. Naturally, the NBA and players have to prepare for a player testing positive for COVID19. And for the season to continue, there will have to be an accepted risk that players take and continue to play through while that player who tests positive is out for 14 days. It's the only way this will occur.
A lot of states are moving toward "re-opening", which includes in some cases an open endorsement to resume professional sports. Governors of Florida, Texas, New York, and California have gone on record to do so.
The Magic were among the first to open their practice facility to players for voluntary workouts 1 week ago. They were able to confirm with the Florida Department of Health that their ability to test players and staff members wouldn't detract from available tests to the public, which from my knowledge has been the main sticking point to restarting the season for the NBA. According to Woj in a past podcast, the NBA has the testing capacity to pull this off. But the PR hit from tests being taken away from the public was a real concern. The Magic cleared that hurdle themselves.
At this point, it's not a matter of if we'll see the NBA return, but when and how. Fast forward to today and Walt Disney World is actively making accommodations to host the NBA.
It would be great to have basketball back. I'll take anything we can get at this point. It'd be a much needed diversion from the pandemic.
And how about the Magic falling backwards into homecourt advantage in the playoffs?