As the NBA has continued to evaluate how and when to resume the 2019-20 regular season, the first step was getting teams back onto their respective practice courts. That initially was slated to begin May 1, but the target date was pushed back after safety concerns were raised.
And while some teams have already benefitted from local governments easing stay-at-home orders, the Los Angeles Lakers are not among them. Last week it was reported the Lakers were eyeing Saturday as the date to open their UCLA Health Training Center.
According to Shams Charania of Stadium, that is expected to happen, albeit in limited fashion:
“The Lakers will re-open their practice facility on Saturday, I’m told, after conversations and clearance from the L.A. county government and health officials. The Lakers will do so on a limited basis. I’m told not all seven days of the week will be open to players and personnel, and they will have to follow the NBA’s strict guidelines.”
During the wait to resume some level of activity at their practice facility, the Lakers reportedly contacted L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti’s office to gauge the viability of re-opening prior to the county’s original safer-at-home order expiring May 15.
Prior to Thursday, Garcetti announced a new safer-at-home order that allowed additional types of lower-risk businesses to resume operations. The order’s lifespan is indefinite, though Garcetti has been clear it will be loosened when health and safety officials deem it possible to do so.
In addition to complying with local government, the Lakers also must adhere to strict protocols the NBA has outlined for any activity. While that prevents group workouts or practices at this time, the Lakers were previously cleared for approval to test asymptomatic players.
Though his team is behind some others in terms of returning to the court, Lakers head coach Frank Vogel dismissed having any concern over being on the wrong end of a competitive advantage. However, Vogel stressed a need for exhibition or regular-season games. Whether the NBA will head down that path remains unclear.