MIAMI (CBSMiami/CNN) – The NBA plans to reopen team practice facilities Friday in areas where local governments have relaxed stay-at-home restrictions amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to an ESPN report.
Georgia, where Gov. Brian Kemp began restarting the economy last week, was specifically cited by one of many team executives who are reportedly interested in getting players back into training.
“If our players can travel and play at a 24-Hour Fitness in Atlanta, they should be able to have access to our facilities,” the GM told ESPN on Saturday.
Players will be allowed to voluntarily work out individually but not as a team, sources told ESPN.
The NBA plans to find alternative training arrangements for players in states where stay-at-home orders remain fully intact.
The league’s move to reopen facilities doesn’t mean the season is starting anytime soon, according to ESPN’s sources.
According to Tim Reynolds of the AP, Miami-Dade County said it was aware of the NBA’s plans but that American Airlines Arena remains closed under current stay-at-home orders.
However, county officials added that they have until Friday to gather more information and work with the Miami Heat on any possible reopening plans.
The NBA became the first American sports league to suspend its season March 11, after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for coronavirus. Gobert’s test results arrived shortly before tipoff of the Jazz’s game against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Thousands of fans had already filed into the Thunder’s Chesapeake Energy Arena when the game was postponed. The NBA also canceled the New Orleans Pelicans-Sacramento Kings game that night, and the season was suspended shortly thereafter.
“The NBA will use this hiatus to determine next steps for moving forward in regard to the coronavirus pandemic,” the league said in a statement.
The day after the NBA’s announcement, dominoes fell with Major League Soccer, Major League Baseball and the National Hockey League making similar moves. The Champions League soccer tournament in Europe, Summer Olympics and several pro golf and tennis events were postponed, as well.
The NCAA women’s and men’s March Madness basketball tournaments were canceled outright, as were Wimbledon and golf’s British Open.
The NFL, which is scheduled to begin August 6 with the preseason Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio, has announced no plans to suspend or truncate its season.
The NFL Draft, which was conducted virtually with team executives selecting the nation’s top college players from their homes, moved forward last week, making it one of the first sports-related events staged in the country since the pandemic hit. The WNBA also conducted its draft earlier this month.
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