NBA Could Soon Reopen Practice Facilities As States Ease Coronavirus Restrictions

The NBA’s season is still currently suspended amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Getty Images/ An NBA logo is shown at the 5th Avenue NBA store
Getty Images/ An NBA logo is shown at the 5th Avenue NBA store

The NBA is planning to modify its guidelines barring players from its practice facilities as state governments begin to loosen their stay-at-home restrictions.

In a Monday announcement, the league said it would introduce the new rules no earlier than May 8, and that players could opt for training “on a voluntary, individual basis.” No more than four players would be permitted at a facility at any time, and group activates and practices will still be prohibited. Players will also remain prohibited from non-team facilities like gyms, clubs, or fitness centers.

“The purpose of these changes is to allow for safe and controlled environments for players to train in states that allow them to do so, and to create a process for identifying options for players located in other states,” they stated.

 The news follows a Saturday ESPN report that the NBA was allowing individual, voluntary player training to take place in facilities located in areas that had loosened stay-at-home restrictions. 

The NBA’s season is still currently suspended amid the coronavirus outbreak, but the league’s commissioner Adam Silver is still reportedly holding out hope that it will eventually be able to resume its season. During a conference call with reporters on April 24, Silver reportedly said the league hasn’t considered canceling the remainder of the year and hinted at pushing back the league’s schedule so the season could resume. 

In a CNN appearance on Sunday, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said he hadn’t received any word from NBA officials about reopening team practice facilities, but he added, “The minute it's safe, we want to try to get back and get the guys practicing and getting ready for games — but we are not there yet."

Cuban also predicted that, when NBA games do resume, they will likely be “made-for-TV events” and happen without fans present in the arenas.

In lieu of live games, the NBA recently hosted a video game tournament to benefit charities helping people amid the coronavirus pandemic that featured Kevin Durant and other NBA athletes. The league suspended its 2020 season on March 11 amid the outbreak and news that players including Durant tested positive for the virus. Criticism mounted after players were able to get tested for the virus more easily than members of the general public experiencing symptoms.

Several NBA players who have recovered from COVID-19 also have announced their plan to donate blood for an experimental treatment that could help patients fight the virus.