WNBA players to report to Florida in early July

The WNBA is the latest sports league to announce a plan for games to return after a months-long shutdown to help combat spread of the coronavirus.

There were reports that some WNBA players were part of Kyrie Irving's phone call on Friday questioning the merits of a restart, it appears that the union has agreed with the league to move forward with the 2020 season.

The league is still finalizing a partnership with IMG Academy in Florida to play all games at the Bradenton facility or other nearby locations. The original May 15 start date was postponed because of the pandemic, and the normal 36-game schedule will be cut almost in half.

The season is comprised of a 22 regular-season schedule followed by a traditional playoff schedule.

Players would receive their full salaries throughout the year despite playing a schedule that is only around two-thirds the length of the 36 games that were supposed to start on May 15.

The announcement outlined training camps beginning in early July and the season starting in late July.

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"There is a lot to do between now and the end of the season, now that we have selected IMG Academy" as the place to play, WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert said in a telephone interview. Any players without a medical excuse can opt not to play without punishment but would not be paid.

The league said it will continue to work with medical specialists, public health experts and government officials to create a comprehensive set of guidelines for medical protocols and protections for game safety.

"Despite the disruption caused by the global pandemic to our 2020 season, the WNBA and its Board of Governors believe strongly in supporting and valuing the elite women athletes who play in the WNBA and therefore, players will receive their full pay and benefits during the 2020 season".

The WNBA will also continue to build on its commitment to social justice. Atlanta also drafted 5-9 guard Chennedy Carter out of Texas A&M with the fourth overall selection in the 2020 WNBA Draft.

"We have always been at the forefront of initiatives with strong support of #BlackLivesMatter, #SayHerName, the LGBTQ+ community, gun control, voting rights, #MeToo, mental health and the list goes on", Women's National Basketball Players Association President Nneka Ogwumike said in the statement. The regular season will tip-off in late July after each squad gets ample time to train during training camp.

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