Los Angeles County and Florida’s Orange County, homes to the Los Angeles Lakers, L.A. Clippers, and Orlando Magic, have made coronavirus (COVID-19) testing available to anyone who wanted it, regardless of whether or not they were experiencing symptoms.
Recently, the NBA created a rule saying that only players showing symptoms could get tested. This was done to ensure that the NBA would not be taking tests from the general public. However, due to the new rules in counties where teams reside, the league had to make an amendment to the rule.
Now, in areas where testing is widely available, the Lakers and Clippers will be among teams able to test players at practice facilities regardless of symptoms, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:
In municipalities where coronavirus testing has become readily available to at-risk health care workers, NBA teams opening facilities for voluntary workouts will be allowed to administer tests to asymptomatic players and staff, sources told ESPN.
The LA Clippers and Los Angeles Lakers are expected to be among other teams allowed to conduct coronavirus tests of every player and staff member entering facilities for individual workouts — regardless of whether they are experiencing symptoms, sources said.
For those three teams – including the Lakers – the ability to test everyone who enters the facility will ensure that anyone who has possibly been infected will not infect others. And while right now this only applies to a limited number of teams, it nonetheless is a big first step towards returning to play.
In order to be able to continue the 2019-20 NBA season, the league wants to ensure that they’ll have the ability to test players consistently without taking them away from the general public. If a place like Orlando, which has been discussed as a singular location for a return to play, can offer the NBA consistent testing, then returning may become easier.
The NBA has remained consistent on their stance regarding testing, so it’s unlikely that they’ll make a decision on the return of the season until they can ensure that the whole league has the benefits that the Lakers, Clippers, Magic and some others currently have.