The NBA announced last week that it would allow teams in markets with relaxed stay-at-home orders to start using practice facilities on May 8.
The restrictions regarding workouts are numerous. No group workouts are allowed, and head coaches and front-row assistants are prohibited from participating. There are also stringent health protocols in place including to temperature checks and cardiac screenings, how to properly sanitize basketballs and the floor, and mandatory use of face masks except when engaged in physical activity.
The basketball portions of these workouts appear to be limited to shooting around, working out with player development coaches, and potentially receiving treatment. Even so, the league is concerned about creating a competitive advantage for certain teams. In the memo about opening practice facilities, there is an addendum that says alternative arrangements can be made for markets with stricter stay-at-home orders.
Per The Athletic, the Kings and the other three California teams — the Lakers, the Clippers, and the Warriors — are working on securing these “alternative arrangements” together with the state government.
Sources say all four of the league’s California teams (Lakers, Clippers, Warriors, Kings) are hoping to convince Governor Gavin Newsom to include them in “Stage 2” of his reopening plan, perhaps with the help of the mayors in their respective cities. As Newsom detailed via Twitter on Tuesday, that stage would include “gradually reopening some lower-risk workplaces with adaptations.”
The hope, if he agreed to do so, is that those teams could return to their facilities by the third week in May.
The Golden State Warriors, the only team mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, have publicly admitted that they view their season as over. However, with the Kings in the middle of a playoff chase, and the Lakers and Clippers angling for a bigger prize, gym time could prove crucial.
Even if all the players can do is shoot around, that is still an improvement considering may NBA players don’t have a hoop at home. The possibility of receiving treatment for nagging injuries ensures that players will be in better physical fitness if games ever do resume, and young players would undoubtedly benefit from in-person skill development at the practice facilities.
The primary concern in restarting basketball operations is to make sure the safety of everyone involved comes first. If the Kings can do so while keeping pace with other teams around the league, that would be the best possible outcome.