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NBA enters preliminary talks with Disney to resume season in Florida – CBC.ca

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The NBA is in talks with The Walt Disney Company on a single-site scenario for a resumption of play in Central Florida in late July, the clearest sign yet that the league believes the season can continue amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The National Basketball Players Association is also part of the talks with Disney. Games would be held at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, a massive campus on the Disney property near Orlando.

NBA spokesman Mike Bass said the conversations were still “exploratory,” and that the site would be used not only for games but for practices and housing as well.

“Our priority continues to be the health and safety of all involved, and we are working with public health experts and government officials on a comprehensive set of guidelines to ensure that appropriate medical protocols and protections are in place,” Bass said.

The ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex is a 255-acre campus with multiple arenas that could host games simultaneously and has been home to, among other things, the Jr. NBA World Championship in recent years. ESPN is primarily owned by Disney, one of the NBA’s broadcast partners.

Players welcomed back to training facilities

Space won’t be an issue, even if Major League Soccer — which is also in talks to resume its season at Disney — is there at the same time as the NBA. The entire Disney complex is roughly 40 square miles, with nearly 24,000 hotel rooms owned or operated by Disney within the campus.

The NBA suspended its season March 11, becoming the first of the U.S. major pro leagues to do so after it became known that all-star centre Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz tested positive for COVID-19. The list of NBA players who were known to test positive eventually grew to 10 — not all were identified — and commissioner Adam Silver said last month that the actual total was even higher.

But the league has been working on countless return-to-play scenarios for several weeks, all with the caveat that testing would be an integral part of any resumption of the season. Teams have been allowed to welcome players back to their training facilities for voluntary sessions since May 8, and more than half of the league’s franchises have taken advantage of that opportunity.

The next steps would likely include a loosening of the restrictions for those voluntary workouts — no more than four players are currently allowed inside any facility at a time — and then a plan for when training camps could open. If the league plans to resume play in late July, then camps conceivably could open around the start of that month.

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AP source: MLB rejects players’ 114-game return proposal – Sportsnet.ca

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NEW YORK — Major League Baseball rejected the players’ proposal for a 114-game schedule in the pandemic-delayed season with no additional salary cuts, telling the union that teams have no reason to think 82 games is possible and now will discuss even fewer.

Players made their proposal Sunday, five days after management’s initial economic plan. Opening day would be June 30 and the regular season would end Oct. 31, nearly five weeks after the Sept. 27 conclusion that MLB’s proposal stuck to from the season’s original schedule.

Management has said it will discuss a schedule of about 50 games, which would result in players receiving about 30% of their full salaries under the deal for prorated pay the union agreed to in March.

“You confirmed for us on Sunday that players are unified in their view that they will not accept less than 100% of their prorated salaries, and we have no choice but to accept that representation,” Deputy Commissioner Dan Halem wrote in a letter Wednesday to chief union negotiator Bruce Meyer that was obtained by The Associated Press.

“Based on that position, the positions espoused in your counter-proposal, the significant health risk of extending the regular season past September, and the fact that we have missed our June 1 deadline for resuming spring training by June 10, we do not have any reason to believe that a negotiated solution for an 82-game season is possible,” Halem wrote.

“Nonetheless, the commissioner is committed to playing baseball in 2020,” Halem added. “He has started discussions with ownership about staging a shorter season without fans.”

He ended his letter by telling Meyer “we stand ready to discuss any ideas you may have that might lead to an agreement on resuming play without regular fan access in our stadiums.”

MLB does not want to play past October because it fears a second wave of the coronavirus could disrupt the post-season and jeopardize $787 million in broadcast revenue. Halem cited MLB’s infectious disease consultant, Dr. Ali Khan, Dean of the College of Public Health at the University of Nebraska.

“It is not in the collective interest of clubs or players to begin a 2020 season and subsequently be forced to suspend or cancel it before the completion of the post-season,” Halem wrote. “Dr. Khan and his team have advised us that to minimize the risk of a subsequent delay or cancellation of the 2020 season we should endeavour to complete the season and post-season as early in the fall as possible. … In addition, your proposal ignores the realities of the weather in many parts of the country during the second half of October. If we schedule a full slate of games in late October, we will be plagued by cancellations.”

Teams and players hope to start the season in ballparks with no fans, and teams claim they would sustain huge losses if salaries are not cut more. The sides agreed to a deal March 26 in which players accepted prorated salaries in exchange for $170 million in advances and a guarantee that if the season is scrapped each player would get 2020 service time matching what the player accrued in 2019.

That deal called for “good faith” negotiations over playing in empty stadiums or at neutral sites. The union has said no additional cuts are acceptable.

MLB’s proposal on May 26 would lower 2020 salaries from about $4 billion to approximately $1.2 billion, not including signing bonuses, termination pay or option buyouts. There would be a $200 million bonus if the post-season is completed.

The plan would establish a sliding scale of reductions. Players at the $563,500 minimum would get about 47% of their original salary and those at the top — led by Mike Trout and Gerrit Cole at $36 million — would receive less than 23%.

The union’s offer would have salaries total about $2.8 billion, leaving each player with about 70% of his original salary.

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P.K. Subban, NHL donate $100K to fund for George Floyd's daughter – CBC.ca

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New Jersey Devils defenceman P.K. Subban says he’s donated $50,000 US to a GoFundMe page set up for George Floyd’s daughter, and that the NHL has matched the pledge.

Subban announced the donation in a video on his Twitter feed Wednesday where he also called for justice for African Americans. A spokesperson for the NHL confirmed the league’s donation.

Subban’s donation comes after many NHL players and other athletes have expressed their support for racial equality following the death of George, a 46-year-old black man who died of asphyxiation after a white police officer kneeled on his neck for more than eight minutes while arresting him for using counterfeit money.

He left behind a six-year-old daughter, Gianna.

The officer, Derek Chauvin, has been charged with second degree murder. Three other officers have been charged with aiding and abetting second degree murder for their roles in George’s death.

Floyd’s death set off mass protests against racial injustice and police brutality across the United States and around the world.

Subban, who is black, said the “narrative needs to be changed” around the lack of racial justice.

“Justice has to happen, change needs to come, but we need everyone,” Subban, from Toronto, said. “We need everyone and all people to look at our lives and see where we can help that change and do our part.”

 As of Wednesday afternoon, the fund had raised almost $800,000 toward it’s $1-million goal.

In 2015, Subban, then playing for the Montreal Canadiens, pledged $10 million Cdn to the Montreal Children’s Hospital.

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Eighth Seed Needs To Be Beaten Twice In Play-In Tournament – RealGM.com

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The NBA will have a play-in tournament for the eighth seed as part of its 22-team return-to-play, but there will be several conditions.

If the ninth seed is four or more games back, then the eighth seed will earn the spot in the playoffs.

If the ninth seed or higher is four or fewer games behind, then there will be a play-in tournament. The ninth seed will be a single-elimination format, while the existing eighth seed will need to lose twice.

In the Western Conference, the Memphis Grizzlies currently own the eighth seed with the Portland Trail Blazers, New Orleans Pelicans, Sacramento Kings and San Antonio Spurs each within four games. The Phoenix Suns are six games behind the Grizzlies.

In the Eastern Conference, the Orlando Magic are five-and-a-half games ahead of the Washington Wizards.

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