Reports: Only 3 teams plan to open practice facilities on Friday as NBA eases restrictions

The NBA informed teams in April that it was targeting May 8 to ease restrictions on access to practice facilities amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

According to reports, only three teams intend to take advantage on Friday.

The NBA, like other sports leagues, continues to navigate a strategy to get back to business amid a backdrop of medical experts warning that easing broader shelter-at-home restrictions will lead breath new life into the pandemic.

Reports: Nuggets, Blazers, Cavs getting back to work

USA Today reported on Wednesday that the Houston Rockets, Denver Nuggets and Portland Trail Blazers planned to open their facilities that have been closed when the NBA lifts its ban on Friday.

Meanwhile The New York Times reported that the Cleveland Cavaliers also plan to open their facility. USA Today later reported that the Rockets are moving back their opening to May 18 to align with updated regulations set by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott.

As the NBA eases restrictions amid an ongoing pandemic, three teams reportedly plan to open practice on Friday. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

Different cities, different rules

Not all teams are permitted to open their gyms, per state regulations. But teams like the Orlando Magic and Atlanta Hawks that are allowed to legally open are holding off for now.

The Times reports that the Magic and the Dallas Mavericksare still gathering information and have yet to establish a firm date to re-open.” USA Today reports that the Hawks intend to open for practice next week.

Practice will be limited

The reports follow news that the NBA sent a memo to teams on Tuesday confirming that barring new developments, the league remained on track to lift restrictions.

When teams do choose to open facilities, strict regulations will remain in place.

Per the NBA memo:

  • No more than four players would be permitted at a facility at any one time. 

  • No head or assistant coaches could participate.

  • Group activity remains prohibited, including practices or scrimmages.

  • Players remain prohibited from using non-team facilities such as public health clubs, fitness centers, or gyms.

Pandemic is still here

The openings arrive alongside a greater movement among state governments to ease shelter-in-place restrictions that were put in place to thwart the spread of the coronavirus.

That easing comes amid pressure to restart the economy despite warnings from medical experts that opening too soon will lead to further spread of COVID-19, delivering more illness and death and another blow to an already battered economy.

As of Wednesday nearly 1/3 of the world’s confirmed 3.7 million COVID-19 cases have been recorded in the United States. More than 1.2 million Americans have been confirmed with the coronavirus, leading to more than 71,000 deaths.

The Centers for Disease Control forecasts that death toll to nearly double in the next three months.

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