On Friday, a handful of teams around the NBA will open their practice facilities to players, including the Cavaliers, Nuggets, and Trail Blazers. Only teams in states are starting to re-open can bring in players, and there are a host of restrictions on those workouts, but it is a start to return to play.
It’s going to be a while for other teams to open their facilities, either because their state has yet to loosen restrictions or because the team itself is being more cautious.
For example, the Lakers are waiting at least another week, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic.
Date the Lakers are targeting as of now to reopen practice facility under NBA's protocols: May 16, sources tell @TheAthleticNBA @Stadium.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) May 7, 2020
That is only if Los Angeles lifts its shelter-in-place order, which is set to expire May 15. Both Los Angeles and California are lifting some restrictions — retail stores are open for curbside pickup, golf courses are opening with social distancing measures, etc. — and Lakers (and likely Clippers) are hoping they can let players into their facilities to workout with extensive safety measures in place.
Other teams are being more cautious. For example, the Utah Jazz could open their facility on Friday, but the team that first had players test positive for the virus is going to wait longer.
Mark Cuban echoed the feeling of some owners is saying he wants to see more testing before he lets the Mavericks’ players back into their facility.
Mark Cuban told @bdameris and @MFollowill on their podcast that the inability to test for coronavirus is the reason the Mavs have no immediate plans to open their practice facility. pic.twitter.com/1w7l5TeUWj
— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) May 7, 2020
Cuban is thinking along the lines of Commissioner Adam Silver and NBA staff, health and safety have to be the top priority. If the NBA wants to play games in a “bubble” to finish out this season, it is going to need extensive testing for players, coaches, their families, video coordinators, hotel staff, and everyone else in the bubble. ESPN reported that’s about 15,000 tests — including antibody tests, which are a mixed bag right now — and the league needs to be able to get those tests without taking them away from regions of the nation where they would be needed.
The league and nation are not there yet.
But at least players may be able to get into team training facilities in the coming weeks.