When the NBA considers ways to restart the 2019-20 season, Houston has become one of the cities being discussed for matches. Consideration has not, however, gone beyond the conversation stage, an individual with knowledge of the conversation said.
The talks are considered preliminary because Orlando is considered the most likely site for games if the NBA chooses to return to a “campus environment” location, as commissioner Adam Silver had discussed in a meeting through a conference with the National Basketball Players Association.
The NBA suspended the season on March 11 due to the coronavirus crisis, but there are indications of rising hopes to finish the season without a fan presence in the match.
The Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta told President Donald Trump this week that the league hopes to play regular-season matches that are not certain to be followed by the postseason.
In an interview on CNBC on Tuesday, Fertitta said, “We are very comfortable as long as experts continue to say things are getting better in America, the players want to play. As long as it doesn’t continue to grow and keeps going in another direction … I see the NBA playing. Everyone wants to play. “
Houston will be able to offer a downtown location, with the George R. Brown Convention Center available to hold games and practices, the Toyota Center to hold featured games, television, and two large hotels at both ends of Discovery Green with direct access to the central convention.
Several other cities have also been discussed, said people familiar with the talks, but there was no progress when the league tried to determine how it could save the season. The Ringer initially reported that Houston was being considered.
Rocket officials have often communicated with NBA officials on a number of topics relating to restarting the season to be prepared if requested, said someone familiar with the talks. He said several teams and city leaders had had a similar conversation.
In his comments to the players, Silver said it could be safer to play in one or two locations, rather than flying from city to city.
Governor Greg Abbott announced on Monday that professional sports can be played in Texas starting May 31. Rocket on Monday opened the Toyota Center to players for voluntary individual training under strict NBA guidelines for those who entered the facility and were close to the players. The NBA does not allow any group activities, including practice.
ESPN reported on Wednesday that the NBA was expected on June 1 to issue guidelines for calling players back to their home markets as a step towards continuing the season and expanding training that was already underway.
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