LOS ANGELES | Caution, envy and doubts accompany the NBA players, who are preparing to resume Friday personal training in the facilities of their franchise, where the instructions related to the COVID-19, imposed by the local authorities, allow.
The League of north american basketball has given it almost two weeks the green light to its franchises for a reopening of training centres, to the extent that they are authorized to do so.
A first step on the tortuous path of a hypothetical recovery of the season suspended on march 11, after the positive test of the pivotal French of Utah’s Rudy Gobert.
Hypothetical, because if she thought of different scenarios of a return to the competition hoped the course of July, the instance does not exclude the cancellation, if the evolution of the pandemic and/or health authorities require it. Her boss Adam Silver has promised to speak on the fate of the season this month.
In the meantime, while the series would have had to beat their full-time normal, it is a cover on the dropper and in scattered order that is emerging.
First of all, because it relates to the hour than a fortnight of franchises eligible for either half of the NBA. Secondly, because among those, only three — Denver Nuggets, Portland Trail Blazers, Cleveland Cavaliers — count re-open on Friday, their training center for the players, who will choose to go there or not.
“To have the trust of the players”
The side of Miami, Orlando or Utah, who have yet a permission to accommodate their numbers, it was decided to wait a few days, as much for logistical questions that, to give food for thought.
In this capacity, Adam Silver and president of the players union, Michele Roberts were scheduled to meet Friday with players from Denver, Portland, and Cleveland, to get their feedback.
“We want to ensure that our facilities meet all of the criteria imposed by the league and the protocols of the local and national health authorities. Then, we will be even more strict with these standards by creating our own,” said Thursday the president of operations, basketball of Jazz, Dennis Lindsey.
“The main goal is to have the confidence of the players and the staff to enable them to come back into our training centres in safety”, summarized the officer who has had to manage, in addition to that of Gobert, the positive test of Donovan Mitchell. With the bonus of a falling out between the two players, the second having accused first his attitude “reckless” in the locker room.
Other teams, on the contrary, seem to be hopping up and down, like the Lakers, LeBron James who negotiate with the Los Angeles city council to return to their facilities in El Segundo before may 15, the date on which will start in California a déconfinement progressive for some activities.
Even if caution is called for — a positive test may extinguish any hope of a return to the competition, the desire to find the flooring that is gaining players.
“A risk that is not worth the money”
“When you hear that things are open, you are very excited,” confirms the player of Milwaukee’s Pat Connaughton, who is looking forward to the reopening of the training centre of Bucks.
Among the protocols put in place by the NBA on the boards of various public health agencies, such as CDC (Centers for disease control and prevention of diseases), no more than four players at a time will be allowed to train on their part of the field, each pulling in front of a single panel, with a single ball, which will be cleaned and disinfected after each session.
Players will have to wear masks and gloves, except during their training, and will take the temperature before entering the gyms. The head coaches and their assistants will not be present during these sessions, unlike other members of the staff in charge of assisting the players and have them wear masks, gloves, and maintain at least 3.5 m away.
These measures are not accompanied by a screening of the coronavirus on the players and the staff to be asymptomatic, the NBA, considering that this would be inappropriate given the limited number of public tests available in the United States.
For that reason, Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, nevertheless the first has pushed for a resumption of the season, still refuses to re-open its facilities.
“I don’t think the risk worth taking”, he argued.