Sixers Have Backup Plans If They Can't Resume Practice in NJ Soon
On Friday, the NBA will allow specific teams to open up their practice facilities. The re-opening is not available to everybody, however. If a team practices in a state where the 'stay-at-home' orders have loosened up since the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the NBA will allow for a handful of players to participate in individual workouts.
For the Philadelphia 76ers, that's bad news. They might represent Philly, but the Sixers' practice facility is located across the bridge in Camden, New Jersey. Not only is New Jersey's 'stay-at-home' orders still strictly in effect, but as of Wednesday, the public health emergency has been extended another 30 days, according to a report.
The 76ers weren't expected to be back in action by May 8th. But it sounds like there's a good chance they won't have the opportunity to open the facility back up until June at the earliest. Will the Sixers play the waiting game and remain patient as other teams get back to work? Or will they search for alternatives?
According to 76ers General Manager Elton Brand, he's got a backup plan prepared. On Tuesday, the second-year GM assured the media that despite being in a state where the stay-at-home mandate doesn't seem to be going away anytime soon, the Sixers would not fall behind everybody else in terms of getting players back up to speed.
"We will definitely make sure our players are not at a disadvantage when the season starts," Brand said on a conference call. "We're looking at access in New Jersey and Pennsylvania as they're loosening the stay-at-home mandates."
If New Jersey and Pennsylvania's orders keep the Sixers off the court for too long, though, Brand did mention that the team won't rule out Delaware as an option. "We have a great facility right in Wilmington, Delaware, where our G League team, the Blue Coats, play in and practice in," Brand mentioned. "I have backup plans ready and available for our guys when they need it if it's deemed safe if they want it."
The Sixers aren't ready to move the voluntary individual workouts outside of New Jersey just yet. For now, Brand and the Sixers are going to see how others' situation plays out. If everything goes according to plan, then the 76ers will likely get started on finding a way to offer players an opportunity to get back to work.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him on Twitter: @JGrasso_