League sources have indicated that the NBA is planning to allow teams to reopen their practice facilities beginning on May 1. Only those teams that are located in states where stay-at-home restrictions have been lifted or loosened will be allowed to reopen their facilities.
This is a major step in the return of NBA basketball this year, but there are still several other hurdles that must be climbed. Only a handful of teams will be able to reopen their facilities under the new policy, leaving most of the NBA teams and players out in the cold.
The state of Georgia, home of the Atlanta Hawks, is one of the states that have loosened the stay-at-home restrictions beginning on May 1. The facilities will be open for voluntary player workouts, but teams are still unable to hold group workouts or other team activities.
The NBA has also sent out a memo to teams that are in states with more restrictive stay-at-home policies. League officials are working with each team and their respective players to find alternative training options. If the NBA is going to return to action this year, teams and players will need ample time to train in anticipation of resuming play.
State and federal government officials have begun to create phases or plans to reopen businesses. Professional sports are still not a part of these plans, but commissioner Adam Silver is continuing to gather more information. The league has already told teams and players that a final decision will not be made before June 1 in regards to the remainder of the season.
Team executives have been pressuring the commissioner to reopen their facilities in an effort to bring their players back. Most players have left the city where they plan to be home with their families. NBA teams are hopeful that this new policy will allow players to return to the team and begin working out.
This could also create a scenario where teams in states with loose restrictions could open up their training facilities to players of opposing teams. This type of practice happens regularly in the offseason but is not common during the regular season.
G League Players Looking to Form Union
Players in the NBA’s G League will begin the voting process on Saturday as they look to form a player’s union. The National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) is helping with the creation of the union. More than 50 percent of the players must vote in favor of forming a union for the vote to pass.
There has been growing optimism over the last few months that players will vote in favor of the creation of a union. If the union is created, then the union will be able to collectively bargain issues between the NBA and the G League. Several of the key issues that would be collectively bargained are salary, travel, and housing.
Even though members of the NBPA are assisting in the creation of this union, it would operate separately from the NBPA. The newly formed union would be in charge of creating their own constitution, bylaws, and leadership structure. Choosing leaders for the union could be an interesting proposal since many players come in and out of the league each year.
Members of the union would only include those players that are signed to a G League contract. Players that are on two-way contracts with an NBA team or those players that are assigned to the G League will not be eligible to join.
The G League also had its regular season suspended on March 11 due to the coronavirus pandemic, and it is unclear if play will resume this season.