Lakers Rumors: LA Targeting May 16 to Reopen Practice Facilities Amid COVID-19

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistMay 7, 2020

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James, left, stands with forward Anthony Davis during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Memphis Grizzlies Friday, Feb. 21, 2020, in Los Angeles. The Lakers won 117-105. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

The Los Angeles Lakers reportedly have their eyes on a date to reopen their practice facilities.

According to Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium, the Purple and Gold are "targeting" May 16 as the day they will open their facilities using the NBA's protocols already in place. This comes after the NBA provided a memo to teams on April 27 that teams in states with more lenient stay-at-home orders could start reopening their facilities on May 8 under strict guidelines.  

The memo specified that no more than four players are allowed inside the facility at once, group activities can not happen and coaches are not allowed to participate.

As for the Lakers, Charania noted they are working with government and health officials and are "hopeful" to open by May 16, although the situation is subject to change. Jeff Zillgitt and Mark Medina of USA Today noted Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti issued a stay-at-home order through at least May 15, meaning the team would need an exemption from the city to open before then.

Zillgitt and Medina also reported only the Cleveland Cavaliers, Portland Trail Blazers and Denver Nuggets have firm plans to reopen their facilities Friday, while the Atlanta Hawks plan on doing so at some point next week.

The Houston Rockets had originally planned on reopening Friday but will follow guidelines issued by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, which say gyms cannot reopen until May 18.

Eventually restarting the 2019-20 season that was suspended on March 11 would be ideal for the Lakers, who have the best record in the Western Conference at 49-14. LeBron James is also 35 years old, and the team's championship window may not be open for that much longer as currently constructed.

Reopening practice facilities could be seen as a potential step in the right direction, and Adrian Wojnarowski reported "an overwhelming majority of high-level officials remain encouraged and optimistic that basketball will return this season" on Thursday.

According to Wojnarowski, the idea of playing the rest of the season in Orlando, Florida, as a centralized location "has gained momentum."