Sources: NBA eyes plan for players’ families


The NBA and National Basketball Players Association are progressing on a plan that would allow for a limited number of family members to join the players for the season’s resumption inside an Orlando, Florida, bubble environment, sources told ESPN on Wednesday.

Conversations have centered on the timing of family arrivals at Walt Disney World Resort, which are likely to start once an initial wave of teams are eliminated and the number of people within the league’s bubble decreases, sources said.

Family members would be subjected to the same safety and coronavirus testing protocols as everyone else living in the NBA’s biosphere, sources said.

Many players are eager to have family join them in Orlando, especially those on contending teams who anticipate lengthy stays in the playoffs. It is expected that teams would start to arrive in Orlando sometime in mid-July, but those timetables are still under discussion.

Discussions were continuing Wednesday within the league on how the NBA plans to structure a return-to-play scenario. The league has no current expectation that a decision on a finalized plan will emerge from Friday afternoon’s call with the NBA’s board of governors, sources said.

The NBA informed teams Wednesday that players currently overseas will be granted clearance to re-enter the United States, regardless of U.S. travel restrictions existing in those countries, according to a memo obtained by ESPN. Travel restrictions have been in place during the coronavirus pandemic.

Commissioner Adam Silver has calls set with the league’s general managers on Thursday and the board of governors on Friday, where officials are continuing to discuss variations of plans that include a play-in tournament, pool play bracket and regular-season games moving into the playoffs, sources said.

The NBA has yet to formally rule out the idea, but teams have become increasingly skeptical of the league bringing back all 30 teams to complete the season, sources said.

There is a playoffs-plus idea that includes 20 to 24 teams, with the NBA including more teams from the Western Conference than the Eastern Conference, sources said. The NBA is considering play-in possibilities with teams like New Orleans, Portland, San Antonio and Sacramento vying for the postseason, sources said.

ESPN is owned by the Walt Disney Co.

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