NBA sets earliest dates to reopen facilities, will start up NBA 2K League

Markelle Fultz and the Orlando Magic could get back to work quickly. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Markelle Fultz and the Orlando Magic could get back to work quickly. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

The NBA has announced when and how team facilities may reopen to give players a place to work out and begin ramping up toward a restarted season.

During the weekend, reports leaked out the NBA was planning to allow teams to open their practice facilities this week if local stay-at-home orders were lifted. It was a small sign the league was beginning to open up and return to work, although not a firm statement of when the league would return.

There were obviously still a lot of details to iron out. Not every team would be able to open themselves up as different states and cities create their own guidelines. And even with many states setting their stay-at-home orders to expire at the end of the month — including Florida — there was no indication whether they would extend those or let them lapse.

In either case, most businesses would still be operating under some extreme limitations. Governor Ron DeSantis said over the weekend Florida residents would not notice anything appreciably different as the state begins to open up.

The league though is marshaling its resources to provide at least a controlled gym for players to use as other gyms around the country start to open under the country’s phase one reopening plan.

The league made an official statement Monday.

The NBA officially announced team practice facilities can open no earlier than May 8 (one week from Friday) in accordance with local stay-at-home orders.

The league says the purpose of opening these training facilities are to provide an open and safe place for players to train in states that allow them to do so and test out safe procedures for the rest of the league.

The NBA will still put some strict guidelines to help players train and maintain social distancing.  No more than four players will be allowed in the facility at any time, head and assistant coaching staff will not be allowed to work with the players and teams will not be allowed to organize group activity.

It seems the spur for this is to prevent players from going to independent gyms or health clubs as they begin to reopen. The league clearly wants to prevent any re-infection throughout the league and keep players within their orbit rather than send them out to work out at a public facility.

That seemed to be the big question players were asking as states began to reopen. And so the NBA too will begin to reopen as much as it can.

This is not part of any clear ramp-up toward the season. This is just a step to keep players separated from the rest of the populace and back to some form of work.

Under phase one of the White House’s plan to reopen American businesses, gyms are allowed to open so long as they use enhanced sanitation and maintain social distancing. The NBA’s plan seems to be doing its best to conform to this guideline.

The league is still evaluating its options to restart the league. There is no sign yet when the season will resume. But the players association has made it clear publicly that they will not return without proper training to ramp back up toward the season.

Things, of course, can change very quickly as states continue to figure out how to move forward as this initial period ends.

NBA 2K League to start next week

The NBA 2K League will have to hold us over until the actual basketball can begin.

The NBA 2K League announced it will begin its third season on Tuesday, May 5 with at least six weeks of regular season action taking place on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. The league will hold its games remotely rather than at its studios in New York City.

Teams will play a best two-of-three format so the NBA 2K League broadcast on Twitch and YouTube can flip between games being played simultaneously. The winner of each best-of-three match will pick up the regular season win.

The rest of the schedule — including the league’s in-season tournament — will be announced later. Like the NBA, the NBA 2K League is holding out hope of resuming a normal schedule.

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The opponents have not yet been announced, but the season will open play next Tuesday at 7 p.m.