The NBA has informed teams that they can now open practice facilities for limited groups of players, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic. The move is significant on a couple of fronts. The clearance was necessary as part of ongoing protocols for COVID-19, an issue that has dominated professional sports over the last nine months. It also foreshadows the start of the 2020-21 NBA season, an issue which is currently under contention.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN adds a tidbit about COVID safety:
NBA players must be tested every day for the coronavirus and return a negative test each time to be allowed to participate in offseason workouts at team facilities, according to a memo shared with teams today.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) October 30, 2020
Following a Board of Governors meeting a week ago, the league was reported to favor a December 22nd start to the new year. Supposedly, the players are leaning towards a January 18th kick-off. The head of the NBPA has stated that a late-December schedule “defies common sense”.
Today is the deadline for either side to declare that they will opt out of the current Collective Bargaining Agreement, which would send both parties back to the negotiating table regarding finances and presumably scuttle any attempts at an early start. More to come on this issue as the day progresses.