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The NBA informed its 30 teams on Monday that certain facilities could open for limited, individual player workouts by as early as May 8 as some states relax shelter-in-place orders during the coronavirus pandemic.
The proposal would allow teams based in cities where government restrictions have been loosened or lifted to re-open their practice facilities for use. The May 8 target date is tentative and could be pushed back depending on the public health situation.
“The purpose of these changes is to allow for safe and controlled environments for players to train in states that allow them to do so, and to create a process for identifying safe training options for players located in other states,” the NBA said in a press release.
Under the limited restart, practice facilities that meet the criteria would allow no more than four players inside at any given time. Coaching staffs would be barred from participating in the workouts, and players would not be permitted to conduct full scrimmages.
Additionally, players would remain banned from using non-league gyms or other workout facilities, even in states where they have reopened. The NBA said it would “identify alternatives” for teams based in cities where shelter-in-place orders were still active.
The NBA was the first major U.S. sports league to suspend its season in mid-March after Utah Jazz forward Rudy Gobert tested positive for coronavirus shortly before a game. League officials have expressed optimism that the 2019-20 season will resume at some point this year, but have yet to identify a return date.
The NBA plans to withhold 25 percent of player salaries beginning on May 15 in order to conserve financial resources during the crisis. The money will be return if the NBA is able to complete its full season without any game cancellations.