Starting next month, the NBA will allow teams to re-open their practice facilities in states where local governments have relaxed stay-at-home orders, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported. The restriction on facility access will lift starting on May 1, and will be open for players to voluntarily work out. Team practices and group workouts will still be banned.
This will allow the Hawks to use the Emory Sports Medicine Complex in Atlanta, as Georgia governor Brian Kemp controversially allowed many small businesses across the state in spite of mounting evidence that it was not particularly safe or smart to do so. In states that haven't eased restrictions, the NBA is reportedly working on "other arrangements," according to Wojnarowski.
Some players across the league asked their teams whether they should travel to Georgia to be able to work out, but the organizations reportedly advised against it.
While this is a promising development for the eventual return of basketball, it does not necessarily augur the impending resumption of NBA basketball. Allowing players to individually work on their games is far easier and far safer than putting on actual games, and it would highly dangerous and irresponsible at this stage to start the season again.
"The NBA is still unsure on if/when it can play again," Wojnarowski said on Twitter. "But getting players safely into gyms was a priority."
The NBA prohibited players and coaches from using team practice facilities shortly after it suspended its season on March 11, and as the threat of COVID-19 has grown more widespread and more deadly across the country, most gyms and other workout facilities have closed as well, leaving players with extremely limited access to courts and weight rooms. Save for those with home gyms or hoops in their driveways, it has been difficult for players to actually play basketball during the pandemic.
Some members of the Hawks -- like Trae Young, Kevin Huerter, Brandon Goodwin, and Jeff Teague -- have access to a hoop, a weight room, or both, but others -- like rookies De'Andre Hunter, Cam Reddish, and Bruno Fernando -- have been confined to their apartments during social isolation. Atlanta's players and coaches have maintained close contact with one another via weekly meetings and small group sessions, and the coaching staff has sent players film to review while they can't actually work on their games.
Soon, they'll be able to -- at least in some capacity. What exactly that means for the league as a whole remains unclear.