The Los Angeles Lakers are just as eager to get back to basketball as the other teams invited to the Walt Disney World bubble in Orlando, Florida. It has now been over three months since the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic forced the 2019-20 NBA season to be suspended, and players have done whatever they can in the meantime to stay in shape.
One month ago there was a report of LeBron James organizing private workouts with teammates. With players soon to be allowed to return to their team facilities to begin training camps, how in shape the Lakers are is a significant point of interest for fans.
They may be a half-step ahead of other teams, as according to Bill Simmons and the New Orleans Pelicans’ JJ Redick, the Lakers have organized secret workouts at a Bel-Air mansion that sports a Staples Center replica court and locker rooms, via “The Bill Simmons Podcast”:
Bill Simmons: “What are you expecting when people come back? Have you heard, there’s this L.A. rumor right now and I haven’t been able to crack it, of all the Lakers are playing at some rich guy’s house. And it’s all like, ‘Nobody talk about this.’ But have you heard about different rumors, and what teams are doing, and all that? Are you expecting people to show up out of shape? What do you think?”
JJ Redick: “All right, so in regards to the Lakers, I’ve heard similar things. Obviously, nothing has been posted on social media, supplying us with the evidence that we need. But there is a gentleman, I think his house is in Bel-Air, who has a Staples Center replica in his backyard. It’s a full court, locker rooms, weight room, steam shower, whatever you want. I’ve worked out there before. My assumption is those guys are working out there. That would make a lot of sense. … Look, I’ve never played for the Lakers. You’ve seen videos a couple summers ago, Chandler Parsons was in there a bunch, John Wall has been in there. Guys, if they’re in L.A, that’s one of the gyms we can have access to as players.”
Even though the private workout(s) presumably would have been organized by players who still exercised caution, it is at a third-party location and could violate rules about team meetings and practices. This is why, should it be true, players have been extremely quiet about it.
However, for the most part, the speculation seems very unsubstantiated. It’s a big leap to go from James organizing a few private workouts all the way to the Lakers holding full-scale practices at a Staples Center replica court.
The Lakers have been allowed back in their practice facility for quite some time now, and while team workouts still aren’t allowed, it would be better to get back into a familiar setting with a coach than to work in secret.
Either way, it likely will never be proven to be true or false, meaning this may just be swept under the rug as the season resumes. What can be confirmed is the Staples Center replica does exist at the home of LA Gear CEO Steven Jackson.
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