Nets won’t return to practice anytime soon
Sunset Park's HSS Training Center likely to remain shuttered
The NBA sent an internal memo to its teams Monday that said it is considering re-opening various training facilities to players as early as May 8, pending further developments regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Brooklyn Nets, however, figure to have a much longer wait before they can set foot inside their HSS Training Center in Sunset Park.
With New York State in lockdown mode until at least May 15, and the city likely to retain stay-at-home orders beyond that date, the Nets will simply have to resume training at home until it is deemed safe to gather for non-essential activities like basketball practice and weight and strength training.
“The NBA informed its teams (Monday) that, as numerous state and local governments have announced modifications of stay-at-home orders and other restrictions on non-essential business activity beginning this week, the league is planning to modify its guidance regarding the use of team practice facilities and player training,” the league-issued release noted.
“The purpose of these changes is to allow for safe and controlled environments for players to train in states that allow them to do so, and to create a process for identifying safe training options for players located in other states.”
New York is not one of those states and the same obviously goes for New York City, which as of Wednesday morning had over 162,000 confirmed coronavirus cases and more than 12,500 deaths due to the deadly virus.
Though the league readily admits in the release that it “may push (the May 8) timing back if developments warrant” even in states that have at least partially, if not fully, re-opened, the Nets, who haven’t gathered together since the NBA went on pause March 12, will not be eligible to return anytime soon.
Nor will Brooklyn players be eligible to travel to NBA training facilities located in states that have begun to open up.
“The potential rules changes would allow teams to make their practice facilities available for use by the team’s players for workouts or treatment on a voluntary, individual basis if the team’s facility is in a city that is no longer subject to a government restriction,” the release stated.
“For any team that, due to a government restriction, is prohibited from making its facility available for use by the team’s players, the league will work with the team to identify alternatives.”
Thus far those “alternative” methods have been the only ones available to the Nets, who were 30-34 and in seventh place in the Eastern Conference playoff race when play was halted two days after a rousing victory in Los Angeles over LeBron James and the Lakers.
Less than a week later, four Nets tested positive for COVID-19, including superstar Kevin Durant, who came to Brooklyn last summer to help the club seriously pursue its first-ever NBA title even though he was forced to sit out the campaign due to an Achilles injury.
Though all four players were “cleared” earlier this month after showing no symptoms of the virus, the league doubtlessly took note of how quickly COVID-19 can spread in a locker room or training environment when mandating its restrictions for a potential re-opening of NBA facilities.
The restrictions in the NBA’s statement read as follows:
1. No more than four players are permitted at a facility at any one time.
2. No head or assistant coaches can participate.
3. Group activity remains prohibited, including practices or scrimmages.
4. Players remain prohibited from using non-team facilities such as public health clubs, fitness centers, or gyms.
The Nets won’t have to worry about following these restrictions, as they will not yet have the ability to get together, even in groups of four, at their state-of-the-art training facility in Brooklyn.
They will instead continue to abide by the conditions the rest of us are following, making sure to do everything within our power to stunt and ultimately eliminate this killer virus.
“Like all of us, the rest of New York and really the rest of the globe we’re trying to deal with this as best we can,” Nets General Manager Sean Marks said during a state-of-the-team address earlier this month.
“I have really been pleasantly surprised and pretty proud with how our guys and our staff have acted over the last three weeks, month of this, starting way back in Los Angeles when we left to go to Golden State. So it’s been a very fluid situation, something that changes if not daily, maybe sometimes hourly,” he added.
Nothing But Net: Though they aren’t likely to hoop it up anytime in the near future, the Brooklyn Nets and Barclays Center are taking action against the COVID-19 pandemic and how it affects their fans and local community. Last Friday, the Downtown arena partnered with Food Bank for New York City to host a mobile food pantry on the Barclays Center plaza. Food Bank employees and volunteers distributed food and essentials to hundreds of families. In addition to providing fresh food, produce and household supplies, NBA Math Hoops board games were distributed to families, with support from the Nets. Math Hoops is a board game that aims to engage students in math and social-emotional learning through the game of basketball.
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