- After two months in limbo due to the coronavirus pandemic, the NBA is slowly moving towards restarting play.
- On Friday, teams will be permitted to reopen practice facilities for voluntary, social-distanced workouts as long as they have the approval of local health officials.
- The Portland Trail Blazers, Cleveland Cavaliers, and Denver Nuggets are all set to reopen on Friday, while several other teams reportedly hope to open next week.
- Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban says his team will wait to reopen their facilities until mass testing is widely available.
- “I just don’t think the risk is worth the reward,” Cuban said while appearing on The Athletic’s “77 Minutes in Heaven” podcast, adding that he still believed his team would be ready to go once the league was prepared to resume play.
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Two months after the coronavirus pandemic brought the sports world to a screeching halt, the NBA is slowly preparing to return to play.
On Friday, teams in states that are beginning to ease up on lockdown measures will be permitted to reopen their practice facilities to conduct socially distanced workouts. According to ESPN, the Portland Trail Blazers, Cleveland Cavaliers, and Denver Nuggets are all set to reopen in some capacity, while other teams are hoping to follow next week.
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is taking a different stance, saying his team facilities will no reopen until mass testing is available. Speaking with The Athletic’s “77 Minutes in Heaven” podcast, Cuban said that the decision came down to being able to protect everyone involved as best as possible and that his players were currently able to stay in shape at home.
“The problem obviously is because we can’t test people, then we can’t assure anybody’s safety, whether they’re basketball players or anybody else,” Cuban said. “And even though we can try to take all different types of precaution, it’s just not worth it, particularly when our guys are staying in shape, and going outside and shooting on outdoor hoops, and working out in various ways. I just don’t think the risk is worth the reward.”
While Cuban wants to wait until mass testing is available before his team gets back on the court, he also believes that such a precaution won’t hold up the start of the season once the necessary protections are in place.
“It’s very binary – once the tests are available, the tests are available, and we can have all of the other things we need to do already in place,” Cuban said. “It’s going to take a little time for guys to get in shape, but most of the league is young, so it’s not going to be that challenging for them to get in shape. Remember, a full training camp these days is three weeks, so it’s not like it’s an extended period of time.”
The decision to reopen facilities varies from team to team and state to state, but league play won’t begin until mass testing is available to all involved.
While the league could probably acquire the number of tests necessary to move towards starting the season, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski says that the league wants to avoid testing asymptomatic players until widespread testing is available throughout the country. In March,some teams were criticised after acquiring a significant number of tests in a short period, while many states were still only able to conduct a few hundred tests per day.
Given that asymptomatic carriers can still spread COVID-19, Cuban is arguing that until everyone can get tested, reopening his team’s facilities is a risk not worth taking. That said, Cuban’s comments make clear that once mass testing is available, both the Mavericks and the league seem ready to move towards finishing out the season.
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