The NBA suspended its season on March 11 after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19. There have been many questions about when — or if — the season would resume. The definitive answer has not been provided, but the league is inching closer to a potential return and has outlined plans for opening practice facilities.
According to ESPN, the NBA will begin allowing teams to open their practice facilities on May 1. This won't be a simple operation, however, due to the different cities and states involved. The local governments will need to have eased the stay-at-home orders prior to the players and coaches leaving quarantine. Only then will the teams be able to begin opening their facilities in anticipation of a potential return to action.
States such as Georgia have loosened the rules, which opened the door for the Atlanta Hawks to begin holding voluntary, individual workouts once again. The group workouts will still not be allowed, but the players can resume training in a "professional, safe environment." League sources also told ESPN that the NBA will work with teams under more restrictive rules in order to find alternative arrangements for their players.
Sources told ESPN that this decision does not automatically ensure that the NBA season will soon be resumed. Commissioner Adam Silver and several owners reportedly still have concerns about whether a return is even possible. Although several team executives have "been clamoring" for the chance to get players back in their facilities. They believe that this is the safest environment amid the pandemic.
"If our players can travel and play at a 24-Hour Fitness in Atlanta, they should be able to have access to our facilities," one unidentified general manager told ESPN following a conference call with Silver. While there were some GMs in favor of reopening facilities, this was not a universal opinion. Others had concerns about the safety of the idea considering that medical experts have been opposed to the idea of reopening businesses.
The NBA is not the only sports organization examining the potential of returning amid the coronavirus outbreak. The NASCAR season was postponed after only four Cup Series races, but there is a possibility in which a race is held in Texas on May 17. Gov. Greg Abbott and NASCAR have been holding discussions, but nothing has been confirmed just yet. For now, the drivers will continue taking part in the virtual Pro Racing Series.