NBA heading for return in Florida, but will it go ahead?

NBA Basketball players will arrive to a Florida bubble on Tuesday to embark on an experiment to break the lockdown on American sports.

The NBA has struck a deal with Disney World in Florida to house players in a complex sealed off from the rest of the world for up to three months

However, this may not go ahead due to the state last week reporting 6,500 new Covid-19 infections.

When the NBA players originally approved the plan back at the beginning of June, Florida was seen to have dogged the worst of the pandemic, with around 1,300 cases a day.

Several key players in the NBA, led by the games biggest star LeBron Jamesof the Los Angeles Lakers pushed for a restart rather than a premature end to the season.

Worries are growing that if the spike continues, many players will drop out. Several have already pulled out, citing fears of the virus.

The Denver Nuggets were forced to shut their training facility last week after three of their staff tested positive.

As it stands at the moment, there have been 25 positive cases among players since testing began last month.

But for now, the show goes on with players from 22 of the leagues 30 teams arriving this week where they will play a curtailed schedule of regular season matches behind closed doors at Disney’s World of Sports complex.

Players will travel without their families and be tested daily, with the likelihood of remaining at the complex for the duration of three months, depending on their side’s performance.

The NBA have issued everybody with a 133-page rule book with the guidelines that everybody must adhere to. Individuals that don’t will be subject to heavy penalties.

NBA players are the highest paid athletes in the world, with average salaries in excess of $7.7 million a year.

It has been estimated that by not finishing the season it would cost the league up to $645 million in lost wages.

The NBA will be the first major league to return in the USA, with matches set to resume on the 30th July and ending on the 14th August, after which time 16 teams will progress to the play-offs.

The season was stopped back in early March when Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz, tested positive, leading to a remarkable scene of thousands of fans being escorted out of the arena minutes before a match was about to start.

The NBA is rumoured to be spending $150 million to make sure the complex has food and entertainment, including film screenings, game rooms and secure golf courses.

Players will be required to wear masks unless they are outside, and social distancing of two metres must be adhered to.

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