NBA Provides Travel Recommendations to Returning Teams Amid COVID-19

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistMay 14, 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

As the NBA works toward potentially returning to finish the 2019-20 season amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the league reportedly sent a memo to its teams advising how players and staff members should return to team markets for workouts.   

According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, the memo said personnel should drive and not fly if they are "within reasonable driving distance of their team markets … to avoid more crowded travel settings."

Wojnarowski previously reported the league hopes 22 of its 30 teams will have practice facilities open by Monday.

The NBA season has been suspended since March 11, but a timetable for return is appearing to develop with practice facilities opening across the league. Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium reported commissioner Adam Silver is "targeting" a final decision on whether the league will finish the season in two-to-four weeks.

On Tuesday, Wojnarowski reported those who were on the board of governors call with Silver "left the virtual meeting feeling increasingly positive about the league's momentum toward a resumption of play this season."

Wojnarowski noted part of the discussion focused on the reality that starting play would mean the league and teams would need to become "comfortable" that a positive COVID-19 test would not lead to another shutdown.

Silver said if such a scenario "shut us down, we probably shouldn't go down this path."

Despite the optimism regarding a return that emerged from that call, there still was not a final decision on whether the league will jump straight into the playoffs, finish the regular season or perhaps create some type of play-in-tournament so more teams had the chance to qualify for the postseason.

Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports reported Players Association president Chris Paul organized a conference call with some of the NBA's top players, including LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard, Kevin Durant, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Stephen Curry, Westbrook, Anthony Davis and Damian Lillard, and the general sense is they all want to finish the season if safety measures are in place.

There are still a number of issues to work through, such as having widespread testing available, where the league will play if it centralizes games in a location such as Las Vegas or Orlando, how it will handle multiple positive tests and how playing well into the summer will impact next season's schedule.

Still, it seems as if there is actual momentum toward a return to basketball at some point in the coming months.

Bleacher Report's David Gardner interviews athletes and other sports figures for the podcast How to Survive Without Sports.