Deandre Ayton and Buddy Hield. (AP)
#By RENALDO DORSETT
#Tribune Sports Reporter
#The NBA plans to take its first step towards a return to normalcy as teams prepare to reopen practice facilities for voluntary individual workouts, based on the restriction protocols of their respective states.
#Buddy Hield’s Sacramento Kings and Deandre Ayton’s Phoenix Suns are two of the franchises that plan to begin such workouts for their players in the immediate future.
#The Kings plan to reopen their Golden 1 Center practice facility today for the aforementioned voluntary individual workouts amid the league’s strict guidelines for COVID-19 prevention.
#California Governor Gavin Newsom announced his state’s progression to the second stage of a four-stage plan to ease restrictions and reopen the economy.
#The Suns plan to open their practice facility at the Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum for individual voluntary workouts on May 16.
#Arizona Governor Doug Ducey announced last week that his state’s stay-at-home order would, with some modifications, be in place until May 15. The NBA issued a memo to all franchises, the league provided a “detailed and extensive” 14-page checklist to ensure a sterile environment for playoff and staff which also includes limiting the amount of people in the facilities.
#According to the Sacramento Bee: “The Kings said one player will be allowed to practice on each of the four baskets inside the practice facility. No more than four players will be permitted in the 51,000-square-foot training facility at one time and no group activity will occur, including practices or scrimmages…all players, coaches and staff members will receive temperature screenings before entering the building. Staff will be required to wear face coverings at all times inside the facility and players will be required to do the same except when engaged in physical activity. Each individual training session will be limited to two hours with at least 30 minutes between each session for rigorous sanitation procedures, as outlined by the NBA.”
#The decision to reopen facilities varies both by state and franchise.
#The Denver Nuggets, Cleveland Cavaliers and Portland Trail Blazers opened their facilities while other franchises like the Kings and Atlanta Hawks will open this week. Teams like the Suns, New Orleans Pelicans and Houston Rockets will not reopen before May 15 while the Golden State Warriors’ earliest possible timeline to reopen is June 1.
#The NBA has suspended its season since March 11, when Utah Jazz centre Rudy Gobert was the league’s first player to test positive for COVID 19.