Report: NBA to Reopen Some Practice Facilities Friday amid COVID-19 Pandemic

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistMay 6, 2020

PORTLAND, OREGON - MARCH 04: A general view of NBA basketballs before the game between the Portland Trail Blazers and the Washington Wizards at the Moda Center on March 04, 2020 in Portland, Oregon. (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images)
Alika Jenner/Getty Images

The NBA reportedly plans on opening practice facilities in states where it is permitted Friday.

According to Marc Stein of the New York Times, the league notified its teams of the decision regarding states with more lenient shelter-in-place regulations but with the caveat it is "pending new developments."

Stein added that there will be another update Wednesday with more specifics, such as rules that prohibit players and staff from being closer than 12 feet apart during strength-and-conditioning activities.

On Thursday, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported there was "blowback" from some teams to the original plans to reopen practice facilities in certain states last Friday. The league made an alternative plan to do so  Friday and provided a memo on the procedures for teams and players to follow.

Stein shared some of the guidelines, one of which revealed the league will work with teams in states with stricter guidelines to find alternatives:

Marc Stein @TheSteinLine

A summary of the guidelines direct from the NBA: https://t.co/XtzYKaEjo2

Wojnarowski noted April 27 that even though there was the initial pushback to the May 1 plans, there were a number of teams in favor of opening the practice facilities so they could provide safer environments for players who may seek out other places to play such as public gyms while they wait for the 2019-20 season to resume.

This could be a small step toward the NBA coming back, and Wojnarowski's report said "an overwhelming majority of high-level officials remain encouraged and optimistic that basketball will return this season" while pointing to playing the rest of the games in Orlando, Florida, as an idea that has "gained momentum."

However, there are still a number of challenges remaining, including commissioner Adam Silver's insistence that there be widespread testing available to the general public and medical workers before the league resumes play. According to Wojnarowski, the NBA also expects "that it will need in the neighborhood of 15,000 tests."

There is also an issue of competitive balance if teams in states with more lenient measures in place can return to their facilities and practice in some sort of fashion.

The season has been suspended since March 11, but Silver and others around the league clearly have not given up on the idea of finishing it and determining a champion in some way amid the coronavirus pandemic.

For now, it appears as if at least some teams will have the opportunity to return to their facilities with guidelines in place.