The WNBA has proposed a return-to-play plan that mirrors its NBA counterparts, which would also be have games played in Florida, sources told ESPN and The Washington Post.
The Seattle Storm declined to comment, and the WNBA and Players Association executive director Terri Jackson didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.
The NBA released its plan Thursday to play at Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. The WNBA would sequester to play 22 regular-season games and a playoff tournament at IMG Academy in Bradenton. Unlike all of the other U.S. professional leagues, neither the WNBA training camp or season was underway when it announced in April the delay due to the coronavirus outbreak.
According to Washington Post sources, the WNBA’s 12 teams would hold an abbreviated training camp and tip off the season as early as July 24, with playoffs occurring in the fall. The NBA was already in season and reduced the number of teams traveling to Florida to conclude the altered schedule and playoffs beginning July 31.
The WNBA was set to increase its season by two games for a total of 36 under the new collective-bargaining agreement ratified last winter. The current plan shaves 14 games from the schedule. The league could still play games during its normal months partly due to the cancellation of the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, which had been planned for late July. The league planned a hiatus from late July to August to allow its players to participate.
Multiple teams received word about the proposal as late as Friday afternoon, according to ESPN. Hiccups from the players association could revolve around pay and testing.
The WNBA is among the last pro sports leagues to determine a plan to play its 2020 season.
The Storm was 18-16 last year, losing in the second round of the playoffs. Point guard Sue Bird (knee) and post Breanna Stewart (Achilles) — the team’s two biggest stars who missed last season due to injury — are expected to return to the lineup.