Yesterday evening, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that beginning on Friday, NBA teams will be allowed to re-open their practice facilities to players in areas where stay-at-home orders have been eased. You can read Woj’s full article on ESPN.com, but here are the main bullet points he tweeted out.
Beginning on May 1, the NBA is allowing teams to open their practice facilities to players in cities and states where local governments have eased stay-at-home orders, sources tell ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) April 25, 2020
Sources: Teams will be allowed to make facilities open to players on a voluntary basis for individual work, but larger group workouts will still be prohibited. In NBA markets that aren't loosening restrictions, league plans to work w/ teams on other arrangements for players. https://t.co/yZSKsXedW1— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) April 25, 2020
As Georgia moves toward opening certain businesses -- including gymasiums -- some players were asking their teams if they should consider traveling there to find a way to play. Organizations wants players in safe/clean team environments, not a fitness center in suburban Atlanta.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) April 25, 2020
NBA's decision on opening practice facilities to players in markets where governments may be loosening stay-at-home orders doesn't mean a resumption of season is imminent. The NBA is still unsure on if/when it can play again. But getting players safely into gyms was a priority.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) April 25, 2020
Things have not been normal in the world of sports (or anywhere else, really) for the better part of six weeks. It’s understandable to view this situation as a small step towards the league getting back to business-as-usual. Still, there are concerns that these phased-in re-openings in certain places across the country could be coming too soon, possibly leading to a second wave of COVID-19 cases, as we’ve seen in Singapore and some other Asian countries. Obviously, the NBA has nothing to do with those decisions, and it seems like this move to re-open facilities has been made precisely to avoid a situation where players enter crowded group gyms of their own accord, but I just want to temper expectations for people who might become too optimistic about this news.
From the Sixers’ perspective, it will still be a while before this latest news becomes applicable, as New Jersey (where the team’s training complex is located) and Pennsylvania are among the six states with the most reported COVID-19 cases. It is unlikely that stay-at-home orders will be eased around this area anytime soon, let alone by Friday.
Hopefully, wherever these re-openings are occurring, teams take the proper precautions and everyone stays safe. As Chris Paul said earlier this week, players will need at least three-to-four weeks of preparation to return to the court after this suspension of activity. Within a best-case scenario, the ability to return to practice facilities on an individual basis could help move towards that goal in some small way.