The New Orleans Pelicans are planning to reopen their p…

The New Orleans Pelicans are planning to reopen their practice facility in Metairie on May 18, a source confirmed. Earlier this week, the NBA began allowing teams to open their doors in municipalities where stay-at-home orders have been lifted. Louisiana’s stay-at-home order runs through Friday. The Pelicans plan to start allowing players in for individual workouts three days after it is lifted.

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The Pelicans plan to rehearse the safety protocols they and the league have put in place Friday to curb the spread of coronavirus. They are paying strict attention to details as minute as how basketballs are wiped down and how doors are opened. The NBA has asked each team to appoint a facility hygiene officer. Aaron Nelson, the Pelicans' vice president of player care and performance, will fill that role in Metairie.
The Pelicans have told players who are living out of market they should feel no pressure to return to New Orleans when the practice facility reopens. They don't want players to risk contracting the virus traveling back to Louisiana for the sole purpose of participating in individual workouts.
The annual NBA draft combine, which was supposed to be held this month in Chicago, has been postponed. For the Spurs, it has created a dearth of data heading into what could be the team’s most consequential draft in 23 years. “There’s quite a bit that is (normally) going on at this time of the year,” Buford said. “We’re working through places where we need to fill gaps.”
The Lakers Review: “I don’t think there is a drop dead date. I think the folks I’ve talked to have said ‘we can go as long as we need.’ I mean, they can be playing until Labor Day.” - Ramona Shelburne on the latest with the NBA during her appearance on The Mason and Ireland Show on @ESPNLosAngeles Jared Dudley: I heard even Oct from Adam Silver today...
Specifically, Woj was talking about the fear of injuries in a shortened, fan-less season. “What about in a shortened season, and I know they’re thinking about this, You really want to hurt ratings next year? Let’s rush everybody back this season and let’s get key players injured and now have to hold them off, have their starts pushed back.”
When Ontario premier Doug Ford was asked Friday about how the testing of NHL players and related staff would be handled if Toronto became a hub for the six other Canadian teams should play resume, he had an answer ready: “From what I understand all tests would be supplied by MLSE, the costs will be absorbed by (Leafs and Raptors owners) MLSE or the NHL, whoever it might be,” said Ford. “And through that, whenever they set it up then they’ll actually donate some of the time at the testing area as well, so they are giving back to the public on top of testing their own players, which I thought was very thoughtful of them, for doing that.”
In Germany where the Bundesliga is poised to become one of the first major sports leagues to return to play, the league has promised to cover the cost of the additional testing they’ll need – an estimated 20,000 tests spread among 36 teams – as well as provide any surplus tests to front line health-care workers. “Along with the NBA, we are all following that and I think if they are a couple of weeks in front of us, it will be hopefully useful and directional for us to look at,” Raptors general manager Bobby Webster told reporters on a conference call when asked if the NBA is studying the German model. “Everyone is looking at that.
Flying back to the team's home city presents an extra challenge. Foreign-born players such as the Dallas Mavericks' Luka Doncic, who flew home on a private jet to Slovenia after the NBA shutdown, according to sources, will have to fly back to the United States and then quarantine. Even players who flew out of state during the shutdown will have to make their way back and then quarantine.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver, in a conference call with players Friday night, said he is willing to wait until June before deciding on a firm plan to resume the season while raising the likelihood of two fan-less sites for the playoffs. According to a source on the call, Silver was “forthcoming and genuine in expressing the difficultly to plan in light of the uncertainty.’’ However, the source added Silver “informed the league’s desire to resume the season, but only if absolutely safe for all.’’
Adrian Wojnarowski: Broader Adam Silver message on call to players: This is going to be hard -- and hard for a long time. We need to work together. Hard choices are coming. No one will agree on everything. There are some difficult days of collective bargaining coming with grim financial realities.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Among players on the call, there seemed to be an appreciation that Silver was trying to answer questions as candidly as he could -- especially given the uncertanties facing league and country with virus.
Adrian Wojnarowski: If the season were to resume and players wanted a safer way to get back into market, Silver did leave open the possibility that idea would be addressed again, sources said.
Adrian Wojnarowski: With fans in buildings constituting 40 percent of league revenue, the NBA is working on creative ways on TV to deliver the games to audiences, Silver told players. Silver started to prepare players for possibility of no fans in arenas next year without a vaccine, sources said.
Chris Haynes: Yahoo Sources: Adam Silver acknowledged there would be a “series of bad options” to decide on pertaining to teams on bubble of making playoffs. He couldn’t guarantee those teams would have a chance to earn a playoff berth if hiatus extends too far out.
Chris Haynes: Yahoo Sources: On conference call with players, Adam Silver shared that Las Vegas and Orlando are options that could serve as locations for Western and Eastern conference play if season resumed. Says he’s received calls from many city officials to host season.
As the NBA nears the two-month mark of its shutdown — and some team practice facilities prepare to reopen — Popovich said the country’s sports associations did the right thing by suspending their seasons quickly. “I think everybody understands we’re in this for the long haul, and hopefully we won’t do anything that’s a knee-jerk sort of reaction, where we just jump back in because we’re instant gratification people,” he said.
In a call with season ticket holders, Brad Stevens says games without fans would be disappointing, but could provide a unique setting for some interesting basketball. “I guess playing without fans would be much more like a typical practice environment, and I think that the one thing about these guys is they don’t compete any less hard in practice,” Stevens said. “In fact, sometimes in those quiet gyms where you can hear everything somebody else is saying, it gets even more feisty. And so, I think that it would be great basketball if we’re able to do that.”
“We want to be as routine-oriented as we can, but it’s just not always feasible. And so, this particular situation, as COVID-19 shut down more and more businesses and shut down our league, became more real to all of us, then it affected everyone’s routine,” Stevens said. "It’s not an athlete thing, it’s not a coach thing, it’s an everyone thing. And so everybody is dealing with that, and I think that as an athlete, the different curveballs that come out of left field that you get used to hitting I think are good preparation for times that are going to challenge you like this.”
Eventually, everything will go back to normal. When that happens is anyone’s guess, but it will, and Stevens is looking forward to it. “I can’t tell you how excited we’ll be when we do get a chance to play and I can’t tell you how much more exponentially excited we’ll be when we get a chance to play at TD Garden in front of our fans,” Stevens said. “I think we’re all looking forward to that moment and the ability to feel free to do that and feel able to do that.”
Trying to restart the NBA season is simply not worth the risk as the novel coronavirus pandemic continues to ravage the country, Shaquille O’Neal believes. If it was up to him, it would already be over. “We should scrap the season,” the Hall of Fame center told The Post in a phone interview. “Continue to care about the safety of the players and the people, let the government figure out how they’re going to get rid of this thing forever. I hate hearing this statement, oh it’s going to come back, it’s going to come back.”
Marc Stein: Cavs players submitted to temperature and symptom checks and each wrote their number on two basketballs in thick Sharpie ink so no one else uses them After roughly 90 minutes of weights and shooting, Nance said: "It was more for mental health than physical to be honest with you"
Marc Stein: Cleveland's Larry Nance Jr. (@Larry Nance Jr) to @NYTSports on returning to the team's practice facility today: "It was wonderful." Nance was in the Cavs' first group of the day alongside Kevin Love, Cedi Osman and Ante Zizic. "All of us actually shot it really well," Nance said.
Friday was the day the NBA targeted to allow teams in states with eased stay-at-home guidelines to reopen their facilities to players for individual workouts. But the Timberwolves' facility at Mayo Clinic Square remains closed in accordance with Gov. Tim Walz's stay-at-home order which is set to expire May 18. A Wolves spokesperson said the situation remains fluid.
The Pistons join the rest of the NBA in awaiting further instruction from state officials. Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer recently extended Michigan’s stay-at-home order through May 28. Until then, at least, the Henry Ford Detroit Pistons Performance Center will remain closed. Michigan is in phase three in its six-phase “Safe Start” plan to reopening the economy. Gatherings remain banned, and gyms are still categorized as non-essential.
Currently, there’s no guarantee from Whitmer that the state will ease restrictions on May 29. It also isn’t immediately clear how that phase will impact the Pistons. “There’s a set of guidelines, we’ll follow them to the T and we’ll be very cautious for both the player and the staff,” Pistons senior advisor Ed Stefanski told the Free Press. “But … it’ll be a slow process. We’re waiting for the state of Michigan to allow us. We’re not doing anything until then.”
There are significant decisions to be made in the future, but all the Pistons can do for now is sit tight. They’re continuing to prepare for the draft and free agency as though it’s the offseason. And if the regular season resumes, they’ll prepare for that as well. “We have players who are at home with their families,” Stefanski said. “ We’re not asking them to come back to Detroit. Once the self-quarantine stops and Michigan opens up more, if they want to come back they’re more than welcome. But we’re not asking them to come back and the league is not giving us any dates on when they’re going to resume play or anything like that. We’re all waiting. It’s a waiting game.”
The Cleveland Cavaliers reopened their practice facility to players for individual workouts on Friday, and at least four players showed up, sources tell General manager Koby Altman and the team’s medical staff informed players on Wednesday that the workouts were voluntary and players should take some time to think about whether they wanted to be put on the schedule.
The feedback Altman received was positive. All players -- eight or nine -- who stayed in the market during the stoppage said they were eager to participate. “They were all pretty excited about it,” a source said. Kevin Love, Larry Nance Jr., Cedi Osman and Ante Zizic were among those inside Cleveland Clinic Courts, sources said.
“It’s funny because most think the NBA players, they make millions of dollars so they automatically assume all these players have these fabulous indoor courts," Roland said. "I really only know maybe two guys in the whole NBA that I know of that have their own gym at home. So, everybody's pretty much in the same situation, just doing a bunch of dribbling drills out there.”
As creative as they’re getting to stay ready, Roland says the return to the season would be comparable to preseason. "I know the majority of the NBA has not shot a basketball since their last game over a month ago," he said. "I saw a video of Serge Ibaka running laps down his hallway, which is only so long, you know, he's going from the bathroom to the bedroom just running laps. So to ask these guys to go from that to 'boom', let's try to revamp the season, it's going to be really tough. You think about how sloppy the preseason can be sometimes with basketball and now we’re asking guys to go from not really working out, not touching a basketball and starting the regular season and the playoffs. So, it’s a really difficult time, guys are in a really tough space.”
The temporary move to California has allowed the family to find warmer weather, while also providing Dellavedova with a better environment to stay prepared for the eventual return of basketball. "We were living in an apartment in downtown Cleveland and I didn't have access to a hoop. I tried to see if they could get an outdoor one put at the [Cavaliers] facility, but I think that was against the league rules at the time, so we made our way to California."
The Charlotte Hornets have no immediate plans to open their training facility, as the NBA begins allowing players to return to practice gyms and weight rooms. “At this time, our practice facility and our offices will remain closed as we continue to monitor the current situation,” the Hornets said in a prepared statement Friday. “Moving forward, we will continue to evaluate this on a week-by-week basis.”
Golden State Warriors president of basketball operations Bob Myers said his organization will be "good partners" if and when the NBA regular season resumes. On April 28, Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said the team (15-50) had been operating as if its season was over despite having 17 games remaining on the schedule.
Myers told ESPN this week that he understood what Kerr was expressing and thought the comments were taken out of context. "The truth is we have the worst record in the league. That's a fact," Myers said. "It's hard to motivate in our unique position. But that doesn't mean players don't have pride and won't come back and play and care about the league as a whole. We want to be good partners and we will be good partners. We'd like to see Steph [Curry] play with [Andrew] Wiggins; I think we got to see that for one game where we were hoping to see that."
The NBA recently informed teams of a "limited exception" to guidelines that forbid the testing of asymptomatic individuals in this preliminary phase of players returning to practice facilities. Essentially, the NBA will approve a written authorization from a local health authority that confirms a "robust testing program in place for at-risk health care workers" in the team's community, sources said.
If the NBA resumes play in a bubble, there will be complications as everyone arrives at a central location. Of course, everyone must get there first. That won’t necessarily be simple for international players like Luka Doncic.
MICHELE ROBERTS CAN'T remember when she first heard about the "bubble," the idea of isolating NBA players in a hotel so the league could resume its season amid the coronavirus pandemic. But she remembers her reaction to it vividly. "When that one was first floated," said Roberts, the executive director of the National Basketball Players Association, "there was some consternation."
A strict bubble where players are separated from their families, and only go to and from practices and games to a hotel, might seem attractive initially, Roberts said. But to enforce it, everyone inside would likely have to submit to some level of surveillance. And to Roberts, a former public defender and trial lawyer, that was problematic from the jump. "Are we going to arm guards around the hotel?" Roberts wondered. "That sounds like incarceration to me."
The hypothetical also didn't sit well with her constituents, the NBA's players. If a quarantined zone guaranteed players and coaches wouldn't get COVID-19, they told her it would be worth the sacrifice of separating from family and friends for several months. But without surveillance, how could anyone guarantee the bubble was impenetrable? What if a team staffer went to get a slice of pizza and became infected? What if an asymptomatic family member or significant other came to visit and spread the virus? If the honor code was too lax, but a police state was too draconian, what was the point of a bubble?
But one thing has changed -- the growing acceptance that if and when the NBA does resume, it will be in a world where the risk of contracting COVID-19 is ever-present. If the NBA is to come back in some form, there will be, by definition, risk. "This is a world with the virus," Roberts said. "And we have to figure out a way to work, play and live in a world with the virus. "The questions have now evolved from, 'Are we going to play again?' to, 'If we play, what are the risks going to look like?'"
Doug Smith: Raptors say they have permission for limited opening of training facility under tight NBA guidelines and rules. It will begin "the week of May 11" Th is not -- NOT -- a precursor to any resumption of play, it's letting a few employees at time back in the workplace
Publicly, the NBA has been vague about its plans to restart after suspending the season on March 11. There is no schedule for full teams to return to practice, nevermind to play real games. Privately, however, commissioner Adam Silver and his team in the league office have been making contingency plans for every imaginable scenario for how the coronavirus pandemic develops, according to recent conversations with sources from teams, agents, and the league. “What’s been hard for people to understand is the amount of flexibility that Adam has,” said one source with knowledge of discussions in the league office. “He doesn’t need to make a decision until he has as much information as possible based on where we are as a country and where the NBA is as a league.”
Multiple sources corroborated that Silver and his team have a decision tree that will guide the NBA’s choices. The league has the ability to chop off portions of the remaining schedule depending on what happens from both a player and public health standpoint. Here’s the league’s thinking based on a variety of possible events:
The Warriors are eliminated from postseason contention. The Cavaliers and Hawks are close, as are many other teams in the league, like the Timberwolves and Pistons. There is a belief around the league that their seasons are over. Some players want to get back on the court. “I’m excited to get some reps,” Cavs big man Larry Nance Jr. said. “I want the year to come back. I’m not gonna act like I know if we will, but I just really hope we do.” But one front office executive on a Western Conference lottery team said that while the NBA isn’t messaging that their seasons are finished, the thought is that the league won’t have the time or resources to bring all 30 teams to one location and play out the regular season.
“The first game when we get back will probably be a playoff game,” said a league source with knowledge of plans for resuming games.
A postseason play-in tournament has been weighed but is considered highly unlikely, according to multiple league sources. While a tournament could be attractive to fans and lucrative for the league in future seasons, it’s considered too dramatic of a shift in the short term.
It’s too soon to have this conversation, league front office executives say, because no one knows if games will be played and how much revenue those games would yield. The salary cap is set through a complex process based on revenue from the prior season, so right now projecting the 2020-21 salary cap is impossible without knowing if any more games will be played in 2019-20. And since no one knows when fans will be allowed back in arenas, next season’s revenue could still fall well short of expectations considering the amount of money made from live games.
Clifford said he is already starting for formulate plans in his head for when the Magic are allowed to practice in full. Because players usually get in a host of work outs prior to training camps starting in late September, this restart will be completely different because many players haven’t touched a basketball in weeks due to strict stay-at-home measures in various states, Clifford stressed. ``I think the biggest challenge from a coach’s standpoint is to figure out how much we can put in with players,’’ Clifford said. ``We’re going to have at least two or three weeks here of individual work, so the earliest we could hope to get back (to full team practice sessions) would be three or four weeks from now.”
The state won’t move into the final phase of Newsom’s plan, which includes the reopening of sporting events to fans, until immunity to COVID-19 has increased and a vaccine is widely available. “It’s a very tough question for these leagues to answer because they must have a safety-first, health-first mindset,” Newsom said in a press conference. “There are conditions that persist in this state and this nation that make re-opening very, very challenging.”
For sports leagues to function, they will also need access to tests and, possibly, vaccines. The NBA estimates it needs at least 15,000 test kits in order to safely resume play, but commissioner Adam Silver has stated he isn’t comfortable using a high volume of tests while they are still publicly in high demand. Newsom, a noted sports fan, has been in contact with officials from several leagues. “It’s very fluid, and it should be,” Newsom said. “They should be very, very sensitive to the needs of the community.”
“I think we got to be creative. This has given us a unique opportunity to think as far outside the box as we possibly can,” Cavs head coach J.B. Bickerstaff said during a Wednesday Zoom call with reporters. “Working with our staff, just having a conversation that we don’t always have to do what we’ve always done just because we’ve always done it. This is an opportunity to push the envelope and try to come up with some new and creative things that can help our guys even when things do get back to normal.”
One creative development tool that has come up: Virtual reality. “You basically can put a guy on the floor and he’s got to move through space like he would on a real court playing against opponents,” Bickerstaff said. Multiple members of the organization have brought virtual reality up when discussing a path to development at this uncertain time. It’s clearly on Cleveland’s radar. “I like that space a lot,” one member of the organization told
Multiple Western Conference athletic training officials referred to this psychological impact as a powerful added stressor for some players that could no doubt inhibit their ability to perform, even if the NBA was able to create an ideal environment at some point in the near future. "Some players will have an easier time breaking through that, and other players will have a real challenge with that," one Eastern Conference athletic training official said.
If, in fact, some players are ultimately uncomfortable being on the court -- and, thus, breaking social distancing guidelines -- then a number of team officials said they expect that feeling will dissipate in time, especially as financial losses mount. "I think as soon as checks are impacted negatively," said one Western Conference general manager, "guys are going to get over any concern they would have for returning to play."
Adam Himmelsbach: Per a Celtics spokesperson, season-ticket holders can now get their remaining regular-season tickets refunded, or add the credit to next season, with a 10% bonus. Fans who purchased single-game tickets through the Cs or Ticketmaster are now eligible for refunds or credits, too.
Large gatherings at sports and other events in Oregon should either be canceled or significantly modified through September because of the coronavirus pandemic, Governor Kate Brown announced Thursday. The announcement will have a direct impact on the NBA's Portland Trail Blazers, MLS' Portland Timbers and collegiate programs at Oregon and Oregon State. The NBA and MLS seasons remain on hold, while the upcoming fall college sports season is the subject of intense debate.
Grousbeck is confident that the NBA will return at some point, but says it will only happen when it’s safe for all the players involved. “We’ll see another season for sure, you can count on that. We’re trying, and talking in private among the league. The general mood I have is optimistic,” he said. “We have to be focused, we have to be safe. But as the country unlocks, I think pro sports will follow shortly after that.”
While Coach K admits the NCAA faces more difficult challenges that professional leagues, NCAA will still follow the lead of their pro counterpart. "I think college will try to learn from what the professional sports do," he said. "You gotta just be really careful, but again you have to bring things back too. We're gonna watch what the NBA does especially, and I'm sure college football is going to watch what the NFL does."
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September 22, 2021 | 7:42 pm EDT Update