The NBA shuttered on March 11 after Utah Jazz All-Star center Rudy Gobert tested positive for Covid-19. Since then, there’s been little word from league offices regarding the potential restart or cancellation of the season, despite recent rumblings about a total cancellation.
These misgivings had many NBA fans worried about the prospect of losing basketball altogether until whenever next season came around. But LeBron James took to Twitter this week and reassured the masses.
James’s tweet came only days ahead of NBA teams planning to reopen practice facilities. The league announced last month that May 8th would be the earliest date teams could allow personnel to work out of their complexes. And now that that date has arrived, a handful of teams have started that process.
Reopening the NBA
The NBA outlined a strict set of rules and regulations for their franchises to follow so that these reopenings would be in controlled environments, with the specific safety and health of their players and people in mind.
The league expressly forbade group activities, so team scrimmages are not part of this move. Players are allow to come to their team facilities for individual workouts. As well, no more than four players are allowed in any one facility at a time. In addition, no one from the main coaching staff is allowed to partake in these workouts.
Which Teams Are Open?
The NBA set May 8th as the re-open date. However, only the Cleveland Cavaliers and Portland Trail Blazers have announced that as the day their doors will be unlocked.
According to an NBA.com report, Cavalier coach J.B. Bickerstaff said the Cavs have been in contact with local officials to ensure they’re following the proper protocol to protect personnel. The Cavs intend to hold two-hour workout sessions. During these, only one player and one developmental coach, wearing gloves and a mask, will be permitted at the same basket.
Interestingly, the Utah Jazz will be among the first franchises to open their doors to players. It was Jazz center Rudy Gobert’s positive test that sparked a league-wide shuttering in mid-March. Gobert’s positive test was quickly followed by that of his teammate, Donovan Mitchell.
In addition to those clubs, the Denver Nuggets, Miami Heat, Sacramento Kings and Toronto Raptors are all poised to resume voluntary, individual workouts.
Players on those teams who have left those cities, like Miami’s Jimmy Butler and Andre Iguodala, are now returning to their teams.
Who’s Still Closed?
Although the state of Georgia lifted it’s shelter-in-place order on April 30th, the Atlanta Hawks are not among the teams allowing players to workout. Reports suggest Hawks general manager Travis Schlenk is targeting next weeks for a potential return.
The Houston Rockets had planned to open Friday, but Texas Governor Greg Abbott pushed back the opening of gyms until May 18th. The Boston Celtics are following a similar timeline in Massachusetts.
Teams in California are all on different timelines. While the Sacrament Kings are ready to return, the Warriors can’t until June 1 at the earliest. San Francisco’s stay-at-home order ends on May 31. The LA teams are subject to stay-at-home orders in Los Angeles County through at least May 15.
Many teams, including the Minnesota Timberwolves, New Orleans Pelicans and Phoenix Suns are all looking at dates after May 15th.