Adam Silver

Brad Stevens on Celtics readiness to return: 'We're basically on call'

Brad Stevens on Celtics readiness to return: 'We're basically on call'

With other NBA teams in states that don't have the stay-at-home restrictions of Massachusetts getting a jump on the Celtics by returning to their practice facilities for carefully controlled workouts in the coming days, C's coach Brad Stevens has stressed to his team to stay ready. 

Download the MyTeams app for the latest Celtics news and analysis

"We’re basically on call," Stevens told a group of Celtics season tickets holders on a Zoom video conference call on Friday. "and so our talking point with the team has been trying to stay a week away from your best shape at all times because when we do come back, and ultimately are going to practice, we're going to have to plan those practices with our sports science group appropriately.”

The Cleveland Cavaliers, Orlando Magic and Denver Nuggets returned to their facilities on Friday and other teams plan to return this week. No more than four players can work out at a time. The Massachusetts stay-at-home order is in place until May 18. 

Listen and subscribe to the Celtics Talk Podcast:

Among the ways Stevens has maintained contact with his players is through multiple team video conferences and virtual workouts in small groups since the NBA shutdown began on March 11. The coach said the layoff and disruption of routines is something everyone is facing through the coronavirus crisis, not just elite athletes. 

"It's not an athlete thing, it's not a coach thing, it's an everyone thing," Stevens told Celtics.com host Amanda Pflugrad and season-ticket holders. "And so everybody is dealing with that, and I think that as an athlete, the different curveballs that come out of left field that you get used to hitting I think are good preparation for times that are going to challenge you like this.”

When the Celtics do return to games, they'll likely be played without fans, which NBA Commissioner Adam Silver discussed on a conference call with players on Friday. Stevens said it'll be another challenge for his players and the competition could get "feisty" without a crowd. 

"I guess playing without fans would be much more like a typical practice environment, and I think that the one thing about these guys is they don't compete any less hard in practice,” Stevens said. “In fact, sometimes in those quiet gyms where you can hear everything somebody else is saying, it gets even more feisty. And so, I think that it would be great basketball if we're able to do that.”

NBA Rumors: If there's no COVID-19 vaccine, NBA may bar fans into next season

NBA Rumors: If there's no COVID-19 vaccine, NBA may bar fans into next season

If the NBA returns to finish out the 2019-20 season, it sure seems as if there won't be any fans in attendance at games.

According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, the NBA has the ability to delay a decision to resume this season into June, but even if they do decide to play again, fans are not expected to be able to attend games.

The latter point that Charania makes about the risk of the virus is especially key. And as ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reports, Adam Silver is preparing players for the possibility that the absence of fans in arenas could extend to next year.

That certainly is far from ideal. But it is a decision that the NBA may have to face at some point further down the line.

Download the MyTeams app for the latest Celtics news and analysis

For the time being, the most important item on the league's agenda will be figuring out whether or not they can continue the current season. It appears that playing in front of fans is out of the question and the preferred option is to use Las Vegas or Orlando as a centralized location for all remaining games.

Will that end up happening? It's still unclear, but at some point, the league will have to make a decision. 

As long as the NBA is mulling this critical decision, the Boston Celtics will be out of action. The C's were in third place in the Eastern Conference at 43-21 before the coronavirus shut down the NBA in mid-March.

Report: No head coaches allowed at NBA teams' first workouts

Report: No head coaches allowed at NBA teams' first workouts

Although the Celtics will likely have to wait with Massachusetts' stay-at-home order extended until May 18, the NBA is still aiming toward reopening their team facilities on Friday.

Download the MyTeams app for the latest Celtics news and analysis

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reports that the NBA players working out will be able to be supervised by team staff and coaches - just not the head coach. 

NBA commissioner Adam Silver is expected to join the NBA Players Association conference call on Friday as an informational check-in with players, Wojnarowski also reported.

The NBA has advised that players and coaches remain 12 feet apart while on the floor together and follow other protocols set down by the league, local authorities and the Center for Disease Control. The Cleveland Cavaliers are among the teams planning on beginning socially distanced workouts Friday.

Listen and subscribe to the Celtics Talk Podcast — or watch Mike & Tommy on YouTube: