Los Angeles: The NBA, which suspended operations last week, informed teams of a new set of operating procedures amid the coronavirus crisis, procedures that signal a return to basketball is not even close.
The league extended the ban on team practices and meetings indefinitely and took steps to prepare for a lengthier shutdown than the original 30-day time frame, according to sources with knowledge of the plans but not authorised to speak publicly.
Three players — Utah All-Stars Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell and Detroit’s Christian Wood — tested positive for coronavirus.
Sunday, the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention recommended events of 50 people or more be suspended or cancelled for the next eights weeks, making it impossible to resume the season before mid-May.
Additionally, after requiring players to remain in the market where their team plays, the NBA will allow players to return home provided the players continue to practice social distancing and provide their organisations with their whereabouts.
The NBA previously mandated daily check-ins between players and medical personnel.
Players still are allowed to conduct individual workouts in team facilities. Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James posted a video of himself with his children shooting baskets on the team’s practice court. Teams, according to ESPN, have been advised to perform temperature checks on anyone entering the facilities.
If the NBA is able to salvage the season, changes are likely.
The NBA has signalled that it’s open-minded about games played without fans and, possibly, played inside of practice facilities instead of empty arenas.
The schedule could end up pushing the season deep into the summer, which would force the NBA to rearrange its annual calendar, including postponing things such as the draft, the start of free agency and the opening of training camp.