The Sacramento Kings opened their practice facility on Monday for the first time since the league-wide shutdown began on March 11. There are strict rules in place, including two-hour time slots for no more than four players at one time and 30-minute sanitizing breaks between each session.
While the workouts are voluntary, a league source confirmed to NBC Sports California that a handful of players made their way to the gym under the new protocol and procedures and that everything went on without a hitch.
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There is no plan yet in place for a return of the NBA, but according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, the NBA and NBPA have formed a committee of sorts and scheduled a call for Tuesday to discuss potential strategies.
Sources: The NBA and NBPA are forming a working group and have a call Tuesday to discuss return-to-play strategies; will include NBPA president Chris Paul and players Russell Westbrook, Jayson Tatum, Kyle Lowry, Dwight Powell.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) May 12, 2020
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, representatives for the players association began reaching out to players to conduct an informal survey on returning to play this season.
In NBPA regional rep Tim McCormick's group text to players, he wrote: "Michele (Roberts) asked for me to reach out and ask the simple confidential question: "Do you want the season to start again?" https://t.co/li3YwdF3X1— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) May 12, 2020
Nothing is written in stone, but during an interview with NBATV last week, Kings forward Harrison Barnes, who confirmed to NBC Sports California that he was still in Sacramento during a recent taping of the Purple Talk podcast, said that there is optimism that the league will return this season.
“I think a lot of it is up in the air still,” Barnes said. “But I think there's a growing sense of optimism around the fact that there will be games again this season. Whether that looks like 16 teams or all the teams playing, whatever type of format, all of that is still in the air, but I think there's a growing confidence that there will be games at some point to finish out the season.”
There are plenty of moving parts to get the league back online. Both the players and owners would likely have to settle on one or two cities to hold the remaining games for the 2019-20 season and then jump into a postseason tournament.
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While there is a glimmer of hope that games will resume, the chance of the teams playing in front of arenas filled with fans is slim at this point.
Opening up the practice facility to players is the first step for the Kings. If everything goes well, there is still a chance to salvage the season, although it appears that any decision is a way down the road.