Sources: WNBA in early talks for 22-game season

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      Mechelle Voepel covers the WNBA, women’s college basketball, and other college sports for espnW. Voepel began covering women’s basketball in 1984, and has been with ESPN since 1996.

The WNBA is proposing a 22-game regular season, starting July 24, with the league playing at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, multiple sources have confirmed to ESPN.

Details of the playoffs, which would end in October, have not been specified, according to sources. The players have not agreed to the proposal, which has been described as tentative, as some teams are still being informed of the known details, sources said.

Reached for comment, the league said it could not confirm the proposal.

The WNBA was set to have a 36-game regular season this year, beginning on May 15, but the league was postponed by the coronavirus pandemic. Specifics about housing and testing have not been confirmed.

One source said it’s still too early to say this plan is “set in stone” but confirmed the parameters of what’s being proposed. The source also anticipated that the players might have some counterproposals.

IMG Academy’s basketball complex has four state-of-the-art courts, according to the facility’s website. The WNBA has 12 teams with a maximum roster size of 12 players each.

The NBA’s plan is to start July 31 at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida. That is about 106 miles from IMG Academy.

The WNBA’s playoffs in a normal season are single-elimination games for the first and second rounds, and then five-game series for the semifinals and finals. The Washington Mystics are the league’s defending champion.

The WNBA had its draft on April 17, with Oregon’s Sabrina Ionescu as the No. 1 pick by the New York Liberty.