A return to play for the NBA is beginning to become more imminent as team facilities have re-opened across the country and the league is on the verge of a vote Thursday on a 22-team plan for the Orlando bubble.
Meanwhile, there has been a steady stream of players to visit the Los Angeles Lakers training facility, and LeBron James has reportedly organized workouts with teammates in effort to further ensure everyone is in shape and rhythm.
The league returning to play will have to happen relatively soon which may not leave enough time for players to get back into game shape and working out alone is much different than with other players, going up and down the court and getting used to that level of play and fitness.
Of course with quarantining and physical distancing still being in effect, there are concerns about teams coming together to workout and practice. According to Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer, the NBA would prefer for no group workouts to happen until the teams arrive in Orlando:
Multiple general managers and executives say that the league’s preference is for no group workouts to occur until teams arrive at Disney World, where the league believes its own testing and safety procedures can better control and minimize the odds of a coronavirus outbreak.
There is pushback on that idea coming from teams however, as they note that players need enough time to be ready for competitive games and not allowing for that will severely hurt the product and potentially, the players themselves:
Teams have also pushed back on no group workouts before arriving to the campus, citing that their players need more time to physically ramp up for competitive games, or else quality of play will decrease and the risk of injury will dramatically increase.
What is being reported is that teams would arrive in Orlando around two weeks before games would begin. Although at one point it was believed the NBA considered having teams jump into the playoffs, each will likely play eight regular-season games.
Both sides have legitimate points in their reasoning on each side of the coin, but they both have the same idea in mind which is the safety of the players. The league is concerned about so many players coming together and possibly spreading the virus and hurting the season before it can even return.
Teams are concerned that players won’t have enough time to physically prepare and thus, are more likely to injure themselves in games. Both have their hearts in the right place and are looking to do right by the players.
Ultimately they will have to find a way to come together with the best plan to benefit players and the league as a whole.