Los Angeles — With the permission of local health officials, the Lakers will allow players to enter their team facility in El Segundo to conduct individual and voluntary workouts starting Saturday. The facility has been closed for two months because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The team will adhere to NBA guidelines on how to keep the facility safe for players and other employees. Per league rules, they have named Lisa Estrada, their vice president of facilities and building operations, as the person responsible for the hygiene of the facility.
The Lakers briefly kept their facility open after the league initially shut down March 11. During that time, players were allowed to conduct individual workouts with the help of an assistant coach. Multiple players could be in the building at once provided they did not come into contact with each other and used different parts of the facility. Those rules will also apply starting Saturday.
The Clippers will not open their practice facility in Playa Vista and haven’t established a firm timetable for returning.
League rules allow for a maximum of four players inside a facility at one time, with each player allowed to work with a coach. Teams can designate up to six coaches, not including the head coach, allowed to work with players during their workouts.
The league has allowed teams in states where stay-at-home orders have been lifted or relaxed to re-open their doors to players for individual workouts, a minor step — and not a leap — toward the return of basketball this season.
The images from the first NBA facilities to open should be a sobering reminder of how far the league is from a return to playing games, even as optimism seems to be present in the league’s top officials, owners and players.
In Orlando, where the Magic are allowing players to work out, a coach wearing a team-branded mask and blue medical gloves threw entry passes to Nikola Vucevic so the former USC star could work on post moves without a defender on the court.
The Toronto Raptors, who opened their practice facility this week, issued a release detailing the extensive rules they’ve implemented. Only one player is allowed in the building at a time, with access limited only to the court. Those players are also undergoing temperature and symptom checks from team medical personnel.
The league is allowing for some teams to provide testing to asymptomatic players in markets where testing is widely available.
That decision, in some league corners, was viewed as a trial to gauge public reaction to the NBA procuring and administering tests — a key part of any of the league plan to play.
According to multiple league executives, acquiring the estimated 15,000 tests the league would need to finish the season is not a problem. Acquiring and administering the tests at times when the public doesn’t have the same access is, however, an issue.
Testing is a big part of the league’s plan to play, a plan that could happen in one or two locations, with Disney World in Orlando considered the strongest candidate by some. The league, as Commissioner Adam Silver told players this week, must be prepared for positive tests and has to develop protocols that allow for play to continue when positive tests occur.