Mavs and NBA Practice and Travel Plans Halted with Coronavirus Update

Mike Fisher

FRISCO - The Dallas Mavericks original instructions to their players when on last Wednesday the NBA put itself on hiatus due to the COVID-19 outbreak?

"We have laid down the basics as we know them,'' a wisely calm coach Rick Carlisle explained that night. "Everyone is to stay in town. That is one thing we told our guys. Games are suspended. Team activities are not.''

But with every day since there has come a new normal, new guidelines, new rules, new realities.

Teams are now in possession of memos, ESPN first reported, that bar clubs from assembling for practice and that loosen restrictions on travel, all while teams themselves are coming to the realization that the previous "30-day aspirational timeline hiatus'' hoped for will almost inevitably be extended.

While the NBA recommends that its players stay in market, it will allow them to travel elsewhere - but only within North America. Meanwhile, the weekend ban on practices has been extended indefinitely. It appears that players can still utilize their practice facilities, however, thus creating a gray area in this rule.

Additionally, with the CDC instructions on avoiding assembling large crowds - and on doing so for the next eight weeks - the league is obviously having to dump its hope that play could be resumed in 30 days.

Instead, on top of working to keep its players, employees and fans safe (the league memo instructs that everyone entering a team facility receive a temperature check) the NBA is examining its on-court options once play does resume. Perform in front of fans? In smaller gyms with no fans? Skip the rest of the regular season? Condense the playoff format?

A trio of NBA players, Utah Jazz standouts Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell, along with the Detroit Pistons' Christian Wood have tested positive for COVID-19. It was Gobert's diagnosis that shook the sports world, caused the NBA to suspend its season, and put the Mavs - who were on live national TV as it all went down - in the spotlight.

"It’s more important for us,'' Mavs owner Mark Cuban said when asked about the importance of basketball vs. real-world concerns, "to get it right.”