NBA confirms 'exploratory' talks about resuming season at Disney World

NBA confirms 'exploratory' talks about resuming season at Disney World

If the Warriors and Kings play again during the 2019-20 NBA season, they might have to pack some mouse ears.

NBA spokesman Mike Bass told reporters in a statement Saturday that the league and the NBA Players Association are in "exploratory conversations" with The Walt Disney Company about restarting the season "in late July" at the Disney-owned ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex just outside of Orlando, Fla. The league initially suspended its season in March after Utah Jazz big man Rudy Gobert tested positive for the coronavirus.

Bass said in a statement that the complex is being considered as "the single site for an NBA campus." Yahoo Sports' Keith Smith noted in a column last month that the Wide World of Sports can hold at least 12 basketball courts in broadcast-ready facilities, and that the Walt Disney World Resort contains nearly 5,000 hotel rooms in two hotels "just down the road." Disney owns ESPN, and the company has a multibillion-dollar broadcasting rights deal with the NBA through 2025.

It remains to be seen if the Warriors and Kings would be part of any such plan.

The Athletic's Shams Charania reported Saturday, citing sources, that the NBA sent a survey to all 30 general managers about options to restart the season. Among the formats under consideration were heading straight to the playoffs based on the March 12 standings, expanding the postseason with a play-in tournament or a group stage replacing the playoffs' first round and restarting the regular season with all 30 teams.

Golden State was eliminated from playoff contention on March 10, after the Warriors lost what would be their last game before the shutdown. The survey, according to Charania, asked GMs if they preferred a 72- or 76-game regular season.

That would mean the Warriors, who are 15-50 this season, could play as few as seven games or as many as 11 if the regular season continues. Coach Steve Kerr said last month he's operating under the assumption Golden State's season is over, but general manager Bob Myers said the Warriors would be "good partners" if the league brought each of its teams back. 

The Kings (28-36), who were 3.5 games back of eighth place in the Western Conference when the season was suspended, would be affected by a possible play-in format. Charania reported that the "playoffs plus" options include a play-in tournament for teams on the bubble of the eighth seed in each conference, a play-in tournament for the seventh and eighth seeds and a round-robin group stage in which the top two teams from four groups would advance to what normally is the second round of the playoffs.

As few as 18 teams and as many as 24 are among the "playoffs plus" options listed in the survey, according to Charania. The Kings would be eligible for a 22- or 24-team format, regardless of if the NBA re-seeds or holds the playoffs based on conferences. Sacramento is 11th in the Western Conference and 20th in the NBA.

Charania reported that Labor Day, Sept. 15, Oct. 1, Oct. 15 and Nov. 1 were listed as survey options for the last possible date to finish the season. KRON-TV's Jason Dumas reported Friday night, citing a source, that the NBA was considering a schedule with The Finals ending on Sept. 20.

The NBA's Board of Governors will hold a call next Friday, according to Charania, and they'll have a lot to consider at that time.

How Warriors are affected by EuroLeague canceling rest of 2019-20 season

How Warriors are affected by EuroLeague canceling rest of 2019-20 season

While the NBA is inching closer to resuming the 2019-20 season, Europe's top league decided not to pursue the same avenue.

The EuroLeague announced Monday that it was canceling the remainder of its 2019-20 season.

Each EuroLeague team had played 28 of their 34 regular-season games.

Ordinarily, the EuroLeague ending its season wouldn't be news for the Warriors and their fans.

But 2020 has been a completely different year for the Warriors. Mired in a 15-50 season, Golden State will have a top-5 pick in this year's NBA draft.

That means 19-year-old Israeli prospect Deni Avdija, who plays for Maccabi Tel-Aviv, is on the Warriors' radar. NBC Sports Bay Area's Monte Poole reported at the end of April that the Warriors have traveled to Europe to take a look at Avdija, who could be a top-5 draft pick.

[RUNNIN' PLAYS PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

With the Warriors missing the playoffs this season, the team was going to use the unexpected free time in May to go scout prospects in Europe. Coach Steve Kerr reportedly was supposed to go watch Killian Hayes and Théo Maledon, while Kent Lacob, director of team development, was going to scout Avdija. But the coronavirus pandemic forced the Warriors to cancel those travel plans.

Due to travel restrictions, the Warriors likely wouldn't have been able to send anyone to watch Avdija play in the final six EuroLeague games had they been played, but they could have at least gotten six more games worth of film on him.

Now, they will have to form their opinion of Avdija with the in-person scouting they've already done and the film they have on hand.

In 21 games this season against Israel Basketball Super League competition, Avdija averaged 12.3 points, 5.2 rebounds and 2.4 assists in 26.6 minutes.

[RELATED: 2020 NBA Mock Draft 7.0]

Avdija hasn't gotten as much playing time in the EuroLeague, so his numbers aren't great. In 26 games against better competition, he's averaging 4.0 points, 2.6 rebounds and 1.2 assists in 14.2 minutes.

We don't know when the NBA will hold the 2020 draft, but if the Warriors select Avdija, we'll know that they saw enough of him before the coronavirus put a stop to basketball around the world.

Michael Jordan-Steph Curry 'The Match' pairing posed by Colin Cowherd

Michael Jordan-Steph Curry 'The Match' pairing posed by Colin Cowherd

Sunday’s “The Match,” featuring a showdown between NFL stars Peyton Manning and Tom Brady along with PGA icons Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods was a smashing success. The event raised $20 million for coronavirus relief in the United States, and was the highest-rated golf event in cable television history.

The access and humorous trash talk throughout has led many to speculate as to which duo from sports could be part of the next iteration of the event. Fox Sports’ Colin Cowherd discussed this on Monday and posed some interesting potential pairings.

"Michael has always let it be known that he's pretty good at golf," Cowherd said. "Steph is easily the best current NBA golfer, that I would pay to see."

[RUNNIN' PLAYS PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

Steph Curry tweeted Sunday that he’d like to be included next time around, and sure enough Cowherd first mentioned a duel between the Warriors star and another NBA icon with North Carolina roots in Michael Jordan. MJ was shown to play golf frequently throughout his NBA career during ESPN’s “The Last Dance,” and continues to be a fan of the sport.

Curry is an avid golf fan and was glued to his television Sunday during “The Match.” He’s played in some professional golf events in the past, and always is among the best current athletes at the celebrity-laden American Century Championship each summer in Lake Tahoe.

Given MJ’s propensity to trash talk during his historic NBA career, it’s hard to imagine he wouldn’t be trading barbs constantly with Curry. Steph’s confidence never has been in question and he likely would have plenty of fun going back and forth with Jordan.

[RELATED: Who Warriors fans think Steph Curry should team up with in 'The Match']

Throwing a couple PGA pros in, especially two who are avid NBA fans could make for some great conversation. As we saw throughout Sunday’s foursome, Mickelson and Woods were more than willing to engage and dish out some one-liners.

MJ likely wouldn’t be thrilled about being mic’d up for an entire round with no editorial control. But if both parties would be willing, this would be the most highly-anticipated event in the history of golf.

Plus we finally could settle that pesky debate of which team was more dominant between Curry’s 2016-17 Warriors and Jordan’s 1995-96 Bulls.