Due to the current coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the NBA has closed the practice facilities of all 30 teams.
However, they recently announced that teams in states with eased stay-at-home orders could re-open, a group that does not include the Los Angeles Lakers.
The Lakers practice facility resides in Los Angeles County, which has been one of the strictest in terms of forced social distancing. The current stay-at-home orders are set to end on May 15 while the league will be allowing teams to re-open their facilities beginning on May 8.
Because of that, the Lakers have reportedly been in contact with Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s office about the possibility of re-opening their facility on May 8 instead of waiting until May 15, according to Dave McMenamin of ESPN:
The Lakers have been in contact with the Los Angeles mayor’s office to discuss the possibility of opening their practice facility for players before the current shelter-at-home order for L.A. residents expires on May 15, sources close to the matter told ESPN.
The Lakers would need to take extra precautionary measures in order to allow this, including getting their temperature taken before getting out of their car:
Some of the Lakers’ planned precautionary measures include players having their temperatures taken while they are in their cars when they arrive at the facility and answering questions to a designated medical professional before being granted access to the building.
And it’s not just the players who will have to take serious precautions as trainers and any other person that interacts with a player will have their own set of guidelines as well:
Anyone the Lakers players will encounter at the practice facility will be required to wear a mask and gloves, and the designated rebounder for each player will wear gloves and sterilized sneakers, sources said.
On the surface, this may seem like overkill as players have been under a relative quarantine for nearly two months now. However, if another NBA player were to get exposed to the virus, it would likely end any chance of the 2019-20 NBA season returning.
The NBA is still hopeful they can return in some way, similarly to the way the MLB has created a return plan that would bring baseball back no later than July 2. Because of this, the NBA needs to take every precaution they can to allow players to get back to work without putting their health at risk.