NBA changes opening of practice facilities after pushback
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NBA changes opening of practice facilities after pushback

By Tommy Fradenburg

Contributing Writer for Telegraph Local | See @tommyfradenburg

Last week the NBA announced that certain team’s practice facilities could re-open soon; but have faced some pushback to the idea.

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ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that teams where local governments have eased stay-at-home orders can open up their gyms.

But come Monday, Wojnarowski said the league had recieved much push back to the idea of activities resuming so soon.

As a result the NBA pushed the date back to “no earlier than May 8,” extending the closure for at least another week.

They also confirmed that date is still susceptible to delay in accordance with government and health official advisements.

“The potential rules changes would allow teams to make their practice facilities available for use by the team’s players for workouts or treatment on a voluntary, individual basis if the team’s facility is in a city that is no longer subject to a government restriction,” the NBA said in a statement.

“For any team that, due to a government restriction, is prohibited from making its facility available for use by the team’s players, the league will work with the team to identify alternatives.”

The facilities would open for voluntary individual workouts, with group activities still prohibited.

A Season on Hold

The NBA began what became a domino effect of the postponement of both collegiate and professional sports due to the COVID-19 outbreak; suspending its season on March 20 after Rudy Gobert tested positive for the virus.

The league has indicated an intention to complete the 2019-20 season which was approaching the playoffs; a postseason fans were particularly excited for.

The small market Milwaukee Bucks, led by likely-MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, have rampaged through the Eastern Conference. 75 games into the season the Bucks collected 53 wins and sat 6.5 games ahead of defending champion Toronto Raptors.

They along with the Boston Celtics were the only three teams to clinch spots on the Eastern Conference Playoffs before competition was suspended.

Meanwhile in the Western Conference the city of Los Angeles runs things.

At 49-14 the Lakers have qualified for the post-season for the first time since 2013, when they lost in the first round to the San Antonio Spurs. In the only guaranteed season of LeBron James and Anthony Davis in the purple and gold (although Davis seems likely to remain in Los Angeles), Lakers fans are feeling the pressure to win.

The Lakers have a 5.5 game lead over their Staples Center roommates the Clippers; who Kawhi Leonard and Paul George have led to a 44-20 record. There’s more drama at the bottom of the conference, with three teams within four games of the eight seed.

Rookie sensation Ja Morant and 2018 top-five pick Jaren Jackson Jr. had the Memphis Grizzlies in the driver seat; 3.5 games above Portland, New Orleans and Sacramento.

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In an interview last week Commissioner Adam Silver said it would be, “significantly later than June,” before games returned; with the next season starting sometime in December.

There is still no real plan in place to continue the season as of yet; but there’s a good chance the rest of the season will be played at neutral sites without fans in the crowd.

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