NBA facilities will begin to re-open Friday

MIAMI (AP) — NBA players will be allowed to return to team training facilities starting Friday, provided that their local governments do not have a stay-at-home order prohibiting such movement still in place as part of the response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Any workouts that take place would be voluntary and be limited to individual sessions only, according to a person familiar with the league’s decision. The person spoke to The Associated Press on Saturday on condition of anonymity because the directives from the league were not released publicly.

Group practices would not be allowed yet, and teams will not yet be permitted to organise in-person workouts.

But as certain states and municipalities began loosening restrictions on personal movement, the NBA decided it was time to let players return to their practice courts — if only on a limited basis. Georgia and Oklahoma are among the states that have allowed some businesses to reopen and some cities in Florida are expected to loosen their stay-at-home policies in the coming days, even though health officials are warning that such moves are being made too quickly.

For those teams in cities where stay-at-home orders still make such a return impossible, the NBA said it would work to find “alternative arrangements”, the person with knowledge of the matter said.

This move does not mean that a resumption of games is imminent. Still, the decision to let teams back into facilities is a significant step.

ESPN first reported details of the NBA’s decision. Many NBA players have said they haven’t even had access to a basket since the league ordered teams to close their practice facilities on March 19.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has said on several occasions that the league does not anticipate being able to decide until sometime in May — at the earliest — if a resumption of the season is possible.