Since the NBA suspended the current season about two months ago due to the COVID-19 pandemic, basketball fans have had little to cheer about.
NBA Preparing to Resume Season
NBA Teams Starting to Open Training Facilities to Players
NBA fans anxiously waiting for the restart of the season recently got some good news. According to ESPN senior reporter, Adrian Wojnarowski, the wheels are in motion to get the season restarted. On Friday, May 8th, two NBA teams – the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Portland Trailblazers – opened their practice facilities for optional workouts.
“In Portland, nine of the 11 players who stayed in the market went to work out at the Blazers’ facility; and then in Cleveland, I was told two rotations of three players each [worked out],” said Wojnarowski on ESPN SportsCenter.
“The common thread that I got from both organizations was that it was clear that the players really liked being back in the environment. There’s something of a sanctuary there,” added the renowned NBA insider.
More NBA teams are expected to open their practice facilities to players in the days ahead.
The Toronto Raptors – the leagues’ only franchise from Canada and the defending NBA champions – have been cleared to resume individual workouts at their OVO Athletic Centre starting on the week of May 11th.
It is expected that once all 30 NBA teams open their facilities, the league will start holding training camps which will run into early June, at which point the season would resume.
Safety Concerns Amidst Pandemic
While there are many players excited and eager to get back on the basketball courts, there are also those concerned about the health and safety side of resuming the season in the midst of a pandemic.
Dallas Mavericks’ owner Mark Cuban is one NBA member voicing the importance of having the right protocols in place to protect players, coaches, and other NBA stakeholders.
No one should have to return to an unsafe work environment. If you boss isn’t getting it done, these are guidelines you can follow to make your job safer https://t.co/sQNiLoK0jN
— Mark Cuban (@mcuban) May 7, 2020
Strict Safety and Hygiene Protocols in Place
To address concerns, the NBA has implemented strict safety and hygiene protocols for voluntary practices. Some of them include mandatory temperature checks, restricting the number of players allowed in the facility at one time, and restricting the use of locker rooms. In addition, coaches must stand at least 12 feet away while wearing masks and gloves.
There will likely be additional safety and hygiene protocols for the upcoming training camps in the weeks to come.
Eager to Crown a Champion
Despite the fact that no fans will be in attendance for the games, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and league owners have their sights set on completing the remainder of the season and crowning a champion.
It’s been suggested that if the season were to resume, playoffs would likely be held at a single site to eliminate the need for travel.
Orlando and Vegas were the two 'bubble' sites that Silver mentioned on the call, sources said. He said that there were a number of other cities that inquired about hosting the NBA. https://t.co/YTl2ocMCa4
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) May 9, 2020
With the unpredictable nature of the pandemic, all the plans for a restart of the NBA season could go out the window if there is an outbreak among players or staff. But with the curve flattening, and strict safety protocols in place, there is cautious optimism that the NBA can not only restart but complete the current season.
Given that there’s been no basketball for about two months, just the idea of being able to watch the world’s best players step back on the courts to compete again is something for basketball fans to cheer about.