Report: NBA moving to open some team facilities as curve begins to flatten

The NBA is preparing to allow teams to reopen their practice facilities allowing Orlando Magic forward Jonathan Isaac to continue his rehab. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
The NBA is preparing to allow teams to reopen their practice facilities allowing Orlando Magic forward Jonathan Isaac to continue his rehab. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

The NBA is reportedly set to grant teams permission to open team facilities as the curve begins to flatten and the nation prepares to reopen.

The end of the tunnel still feels like a long way off. There are still no plans to resume the season or a set timetable for the league to begin its mini-training camp to get players back in shape for the rest of what remains of this season.

For the first time in a month, there seems to be a glimmer of light shining through.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reports the league will allow teams to open practice facilities on May 1 as states begin to phase out of the stay-at-home orders throughout the country.

Wojnarowski notes that several players asked about locating in Georgia where the state has lifted many of its restrictions on businesses including opening gyms. Georgia is one of less than a handful of states that has lifted its restrictions already.

Florida’s stay-at-home order is set to expire Thursday, April 30. However, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said he has not decided on a date to begin the phased re-opening of businesses within the state. It is still possible the stay-at-home order could be extended.

DeSantis recently formed a task force to guide decisions with reopening the state that met for the first time Friday. Several Central Florida counties have re-opened beaches to exercise activity only — still banning recreational activities, sunbathing and the like all while still enforcing social distancing.

In a press conference Saturday, DeSantis said the first phase of reopening the state will look very similar to the current stay-home order. It would not include reopening large gathering places like movie theaters or sporting events.

However, the state has allowed some sporting events to continue.

Somewhat infamously, the state has allowed WWE to continue filming live episodes of its television programs from the WWE Performance Center in Orlando on a closed set.

The state has also approved a MMA event and an exhibition golf match with Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Tom Brady and Peyton Manning. Fans will not be in attendance for these events.

Florida has at least opened the door for sporting events of some kind to return to the state. And it would make some logic to see them give the Orlando Magic the OK to reopen the AdventHealth Practice Facility at the Amway Center with safety precautions — such as minimal contact, social distancing and cleaning precautions.

Under the White House’s phased reopening guidelines, opening gyms under these strict conditions is part of phase one.

It would follow then that if Florida does lift its stay-at-home order and begins a phased reopening, the Magic would be able to reopen their training facility.

There has largely been good news in Florida and Central Florida when it comes to flattening the curve and reducing the number of COVID-19 cases.

DeSantis reported the rate of new positive tests in the whole state of Florida was down to 7.5 percent for the last two weeks. In Orange County, mayor Jerry Demings reported the county saw only 61 new cases of the coronavirus this past week, continuing a five-week trend of fewer new cases of the disease.

Government officials are still being cautious and managing expectations for sure. But it does seem like there is good news and that the rate of infection has decreased. It is at least to the point that all levels of government are gearing up to put reopening plans in place.

A company like the NBA is sure to follow.

Wojnarowski reports this is not a signal the league is close to restarting its season or even getting into its own phased-in return to the court. The league is still determining whether and how it can resume its season.

Still, it is impossible not to see this as a step closer toward a return to the NBA’s season — let alone a return to normal life as the nation begins to see the curve flatten and instances of the disease decrease.

Most players do not have access to a court. And so for many of them, their ability to stay in game shape is severely hampered.

The league wanted at least a two-week period of individual workouts to help players get back into shape and then another two weeks as a mini-training camp before completing the season.

At the very least, this gives NBA players an outlet to get back to some level of work. Even as voluntary workouts.

And, at the very least, this is a good sign of things beginning to return to normal. Even if it remains pretty far off from a full return to the court.

Orlando Magic have plenty to remember from frustrating 2020 season. dark. Next

For more information about COVID-19, visit the CDC’s website or the website for your state’s Department of Health.