NBA keeping team facilities closed at least another week-and-a-half

Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young
Michael LeBrecht /NBAE via Getty Images

Several states – including Georgia (home of the Atlanta Hawks), Colorado (Denver Nuggets), Minnesota (Minnesota Timberwolves) and Tennessee (Memphis Grizzlies) – are allowing some businesses to re-open after being ordered closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

In turn, the NBA planned to allow teams – where local governments permitted – to re-open facilities Friday.

But that’s getting delayed by at least a week.

NBA release:

The NBA informed its teams today that, as numerous state and local governments have announced modifications of stay-at-home orders and other restrictions on non-essential business activity beginning this week, the league is planning to modify its guidance regarding the use of team practice facilities and player training.  The purpose of these changes is to allow for safe and controlled environments for players to train in states that allow them to do so, and to create a process for identifying safe training options for players located in other states.

The league advised teams that it is targeting no earlier than Friday, May 8, as the commencement date for the new rules, and that it may push this timing back if developments warrant.

The potential rules changes would allow teams to make their practice facilities available for use by the team’s players for workouts or treatment on a voluntary, individual basis if the team’s facility is in a city that is no longer subject to a government restriction.  For any team that, due to a government restriction, is prohibited from making its facility available for use by the team’s players, the league will work with the team to identify alternatives.

The following restrictions would apply:

  • No more than four players would be permitted at a facility at any one time.
  • No head or assistant coaches could participate.
  • Group activity remains prohibited, including practices or scrimmages.
  • Players remain prohibited from using non-team facilities such as public health clubs, fitness centers, or gyms.

Shams Charania of The Athletic:

Players want to play. The NBA should allow them to do so as soon as safely possible.

When will that be? That’s a difficult question, and the league should take proper precautions. Waiting until May 8 might be prudent.

But it’s good the NBA is also already formulating a plan for how facilities should operate once they can open.