Starting today, players on a handful of teams can return to workout in their team facilities.
Those workouts come with a host of restrictions. Only four players in the facility at a time, one player at one basket at a time. Players will get their temperature checked when they arrive and if it’s above 99.1 they will be sent home. The assistant coach rebounding the ball will wear a mask and gloves, then after the ball will be sanitized. Players can workout, but there can’t be a strength coach next to them, spotting them. And the list goes on and on.
Not every team is going to open their facilities today. Some because their state hasn’t re-opened in that way yet. Some because team management and ownership aren’t ready to yet.
Portland’s CJ McCollum is among those who have concerns about the re-opening and the move toward games again, as he told Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports.
“I am worried like the rest of the world, but I like that it is optional and I’m pleased with the caution, structure and measures the Blazers organization has put in place to ensure the safest environment possible for all parties involved,” McCollum told Yahoo Sports. “I get the measures [the league is] taking, but you have to think at some point when there are drastic measures that need to be taken, ‘Is it really worth it?’ It’s either safe or it’s not.
“ … And let’s just be honest, man, it’s not like it will be the first time players got gym access outside of the team’s facilities. Some people have been working out, if we’re being honest.”
Does McCollum think basketball will return this season?
“I don’t know, man,” he said. “I’m probably as optimistic as the casual fan. Some days you feel like there’s a chance, and then some days you’re like, ‘I don’t know.’ But in the meantime, if you go to work out at the facility, I get it. Work out, but we’ve got to figure out a balance between what’s safe and what’s forcing it.”
There is an optimism in league circles that this season — or, at least this postseason — will get played out, that the NBA will crown a champion. Adam Silver is cautious, not leaking plans like the MLB or releasing a schedule like the NFL, but the NBA is planning for a lot of scenarios and expects one of them will come to fruition.
However, as parts of the nation start to re-open and we potentially face a “W” shaped recovery as a country, McCollum is right to ask, “is it really worth it?” If the league can’t keep players and personnel safe, if they can’t find a balance without forcing it, then it’s not worth it.