NBA teams will be allowed to open their facilities beginning May 1 — but only if they’re in a state with relaxed or no stay-at-home orders and only for individual workouts.
The move, which NBA teams were made aware of Saturday, isn’t a move to restart the season as much as it is a reaction to an increasing number of states easing restrictions, The Times has confirmed.
Georgia’s restrictions have been lifted on fitness centers and gyms this week, and Oklahoma is scheduled to do the same next week. Texas could also soon open some gyms. The NBA, according to a person unauthorized to speak publicly, would prefer its players be in controlled environments such as an NBA facility instead of in local gyms.
That would seem to give teams in those states an advantage over teams playing in states hit harder by the COVID-19 pandemic, including the four teams in California, where stay-at-home orders are indefinite.
The league ordered NBA practice facilities to be closed by March 20.
During a conference call this month, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said he hoped there would be a leaguewide set of standards.
“Because we operate in so many different jurisdictions, we have to pay close attention to the different rules, state by state, city by city. But we are, at the end of the day, a national league, so we feel it is incumbent on us to set what we think are the right standards for our players,” Silver said. “We will be influenced by what municipalities do. We’re taking in all data. It’s not just our so-called experts we’re listening to. We view the counsel with the other leagues as an opportunity to listen and learn from colleagues, and from whatever outside resources they have available to them.
“… But I think it’s clear in order to operate a league, other than maybe in some interim way, you need a consistent national set of standards.”