Among marketplaces where state restrictions keep practice facilities closed, NBA teams are asking if players can bypass the return to those cities and report directly to the league’s proposed campus environment for the start of training camps, sources told ESPN.
Most teams in regions that still adhere to their stay-at-home policies in the coronavirus pandemic have a plethora of players who left their marketplace during the shutdown and had to quarantine for an extended period – perhaps as many as 14 days – before participating in training in team facilities. Teams want to avoid having to quarantine significant parts of their guards twice — once by returning to more restrictive markets, and again, in the hot tub.
Pending the league̵
The NBA has a board call set for next Friday, which is expected to provide further details to teams on a roadmap and plans to continue with the season. The teams expect the league to instruct them to begin recalling players to their team’s markets around June 1, sources told ESPN.
Leaders from Brooklyn, Boston, New York and Toronto were among them on Thursday’s general manager’s call with the league office, expressing concern about how to wait for the league to release a schedule, complicating their ramp-ups to return in ways that are unique to these marketplaces, sources said.
For example, here’s what the Raptors All-Star guards Kyle Lowry will avoid: He has worked in Philadelphia and could have to return to Toronto and quarantine for two weeks – without a guarantee that Canadian rules would allow him to use the team’s facility during this period. Fitness gains he had achieved could be dull – just as Lowry and others want to speed up preparation.
Some teams have been considering setting up temporary training camps at stopovers before arriving at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida, where Eastern Conference teams expect them to be stationed to end the season, the sources said. 21 of the league’s training facilities are open to volunteer training, but most players on the Knicks and Nets have not returned to the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, New York. In most cases, directors said they are unable to get players to return to their markets to begin preparing for the season’s resume without the commissioner announcing that the season will resume.
The posts represent another complication for teams. The Raptors and Nets are firmly in the Eastern Conference playoffs, but the Knicks are waiting to learn whether the NBA will include all 30 teams in the season resume – or keep some teams at the bottom of the Eastern and Western Conference standings for the summer.
In formal and informal conversations with owners, managers and players, the league is still unsure of the regular season and playoff structure it will use to end the season.
Thursday’s call was the league vague with detailed multiple resume scenarios still under consideration, including a modified 30-team regular season schedule straight to the playoffs, pool-play rounds in a play-in tournament and play-in models with fewer than 30, but more than 16 teams, the sources said. Several members of the league’s board of directors believe the NBA’s preference is not to bring each team to resume the season, but it remains undetermined. First, the fewer teams, the fewer the risk of spreading or contracting COVID-19. With a small chance of playing more than five to seven regular season games, one month of preparation seems like an excessive investment for teams at the bottom of the post.
And the idea of rewarding the league’s worst team in a play-in tournament has been met with little enthusiasm. Among the teams at the bottom of the stand, most privately want nothing more than to keep their draft lottery odds strong – don’t dilute the percentages trying to win a handful of meaningless games. They are even less excited to include the key, veteran players and risk injury in these games.
Nevertheless, 30 teams completing a comparable number of games in the season before the playoffs provide a fairer weighting of lottery odds for the NBA Draft — and gives the league a chance to maximize revenue streams for regional sports network television contracts.
Among the concerns of championship athletes at each conference is sitting idle in Orlando or Las Vegas awaiting the results of a play-in tournament, sources said. Competing teams wondered if the NBA would allow them to delay arrivals to campus while the play-in tournament is in progress, “Just so we don’t have to sit around and wait for it to end there,” a GM told ESPN .
The teams are pushing the league for the timeline, but they are still against an official release of it. Among the concerns: the disparate process of bringing players abroad to North America, and some GMs describing volunteer training environments that are losing momentum and interest among players.
“The news of being back in the facility and how limited it is has worn off guys,” said one GM. “Our guys tell the others: Stay away. Keep playing in the high school you spend. ”
The NBA is discussing a step-by-step plan for a resume of the 2019-2020 season, which includes an initial two-week recall of players in team markets during a quarantine period, one to two weeks of individual training facilities at team facilities and a two-to-one. – Three weeks of formal training camp, sources told ESPN. Aside from an unforeseen turn of events, many NBA owners, executives and NBPA elders believe Commissioner Adam Silver will go green to return to the game in June – with games expected to resume sometime before the end of the July, sources said.