The WNBA could be nearing an agreement on details to start the season July 24, in what seems to be a player-friendly scenario.

The most recent proposal from the league would pay 100% of player salaries for a 22-game season at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, according to a person with knowledge of the discussions. The league’s proposal last week attempted to pay players 60% of their salaries. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the proposal remains unofficial.

The proposal, first reported by ESPN, outlines a controlled environment similar to the NBA’s plans at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex near Orlando, Florida, with limited contact outside the so-called “bubble.” Players, coaches and staff would be tested for the novel coronavirus upon arrival and regularly throughout the season.

There are some opt-out options for players uncomfortable with playing with the country still in the midst of the pandemic. Those with high-risk medical conditions can decide not to play and still receive a full salary. Players without a medical excuse can still choose not to play without risk of punishment, though they would not receive a salary.

The opt-outs seem to address reported concerns from NBA players who may be hesitant to return under the current conditions.

The WNBA and Terri Jackson, the executive director of its players association, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The proposal also addresses off-the-court living conditions. Players would stay in multiroom villas and children are allowed with one caretaker. Players with five years experience would be permitted a plus-one to stay for the season — a spouse or significant other. Every player would be included in the plus-one-provision once teams reach the semifinal round of the playoffs.

A 36-game regular season was originally slated to start May 15. That schedule had included a break from late July to early August to allow players to participate in the Tokyo Olympics, which have since been postponed until 2021 because of the pandemic.

The IMG facilities include four basketball courts and a Performance & Sports Science Center.


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