NBA G League, including Lakeland Magic, to play in ‘bubble’ at Disney

Games to be held at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex near Orlando

FILE - A sign marking the entrance to ESPN's Wide World of Sports at Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., is seen in this Wednesday, June 3, 2020, file photo. Sports media giant ESPN announced Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2020, that it is cutting about 500 jobs from its global workforce and laying off about 300 employees. The company said the cuts are due in large part to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on its business and the tremendous disruption in how fans consume sports. (AP Photo/John Raoux, File) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

ORLANDO, Fla. – The Lakeland Magic, along with several other NBA G League teams and G League Ignite, will play games in a “bubble” starting this February at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World near Orlando, officials announced Friday.

The games will take place after the NBA successfully restarted the 2019-20 NBA regular season amid the pandemic at Disney last summer, which culminated with the Los Angeles Lakers winning the title.

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The top eight teams of the G League season will advance to a single-elimination playoff.

“We worked closely with our teams, the Basketball Players Union, and public health experts to develop a structure that allows our teams to gather at a single site and safely play,” NBA G League President Shareef Abdur-Rahim said. “We are thrilled to get back to basketball and to fulfill our mission as a critical resource for the NBA in developing players, coaches, referees, athletic trainers and front-office staff.”

NBA teams without an NBA G League affiliate participating in Orlando will have the opportunity to assign roster players and transfer two-way players using the league’s flexible assignment and two-way rules.

Disney said it is eager to work with the NBA once again.

“Most importantly, Disney and the NBA G League will continue our shared focus on the necessary safety protocols for the well-being of the players, coaches, staff and everyone supporting this event,” said Faron Kelley, vice president of Disney Sports.

Ignite, the recently launched team for elite NBA Draft-eligible players coached by former NBA player and head coach Brian Shaw, will play its first games against NBA G League competition in Orlando. Different from a traditional season, Ignite will be eligible to advance to the playoffs at Walt Disney World Resort due to the unique circumstances of this year.

Players, coaches, team and league staff living on the NBA G League’s campus at Walt Disney World Resort will be guided by comprehensive leaguewide health and safety protocols, which are based on the core principles of social distancing, mask wearing, hand hygiene and COVID-19 testing.

The 17 participating NBA G League teams are:

  • Agua Caliente Clippers (LA Clippers)
  • Austin Spurs (San Antonio Spurs)
  • Canton Charge (Cleveland Cavaliers)
  • Delaware Blue Coats (Philadelphia 76ers)
  • Erie BayHawks (New Orleans Pelicans)
  • Fort Wayne Mad Ants (Indiana Pacers)
  • Greensboro Swarm (Charlotte Hornets)
  • Iowa Wolves (Minnesota Timberwolves)
  • Lakeland Magic (Orlando Magic)
  • Long Island Nets (Brooklyn Nets)
  • Memphis Hustle (Memphis Grizzlies)
  • Oklahoma City Blue (Oklahoma City Thunder)
  • Raptors 905 (Toronto Raptors)
  • Rio Grande Valley Vipers (Houston Rockets)
  • Salt Lake City Stars (Utah Jazz)
  • Santa Cruz Warriors (Golden State Warriors)
  • Westchester Knicks (New York Knicks)

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