CJ McCollum on NBA Potentially Returning Amid COVID-19: 'Is It Really Worth It?'

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistMay 7, 2020

Portland Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum (3) in the first half of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
David Zalubowski/Associated Press

While the NBA is allowing for teams to slowly return to regular training, Portland Trail Blazers star CJ McCollum is remaining cautious during the COVID-19 pandemic.

McCollum told Yahoo Sports' Chris Haynes his concern stems largely from the steps that are to come ahead of possibly resuming the 2019-20 season:

"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. 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."

The NBA announced in April it would consider allowing teams to reopen their practice facilities starting Friday, with a number of states easing back on stay-at-home orders. The league laid out guidelines on how teams can structure workouts.

No more than four players can be at the facility at once, while practices and scrimmages remain off-limits.

"The issue is you can go to your practice facility, but there’s all these stipulations," McCollum said to Haynes. "You can't use certain stuff, can't do certain stuff. Now they're talking about you might have to be 12 feet away from your strength coach. How are you going to lift 12 feet away from somebody?"

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban echoed McCollum's general fear about the consequences of bringing personnel back, even on a limited basis:

The Athletic @TheAthletic

@mcuban @TheAthleticNBA "It's just not worth it." @mcuban explains the decision to not reopen the Mavs' practice facility: https://t.co/AUb6RYngez @TheAthleticNBA https://t.co/xhCjlOfavt

For the time being, teams have the final say on the matter.

USA Today's Jeff Zillgitt and Mark Medina reported the Blazers, Cleveland Cavaliers and Denver Nuggets were the only franchises who planned to open up Friday.

Cavs head coach J.B. Bickerstaff questioned Wednesday how many players will actually be around the team's facility in Independence, Ohio, to take advantage:

Tom Withers @twithersAP

Bickerstaff doubts many players will return to Ohio for workouts. Everything still very fluid. #Cavs

The NBA has yet to abandon the 2019-20 campaign. ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported "an overwhelming majority of high-level officials remain encouraged and optimistic that basketball will return this season."

Any resumption would require a significant ramp-up in players' training regimens and large group activities such as scrimmages. Plenty of people inside and around the NBA will likely keep a watchful eye on how the next few weeks unfold with teams slowly resume regular business.