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NBA extends practice ban indefinitely; players can leave local market

Detroit Red Wings v Washington Capitals

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 12: Spectator seating is empty prior to the Detroit Red Wings playing against the Washington Capitals at Capital One Arena on March 12, 2020 in Washington, DC. Yesterday, the NBA suspended their season until further notice after a Utah Jazz player tested positive for the coronavirus (COVID-19). The NHL said per a release, that the uncertainty regarding next steps regarding the coronavirus, Clubs were advised not to conduct morning skates, practices or team meetings today. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

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In another sign the NBA understands it is going to be months — maybe more than a few months — before players take the court again, the league sent a memo to teams making two key points, according to multiple reports.

First, the league extended the ban on organized practices indefinitely. Players can work out individually at the team’s facilities (in limited numbers at a time), but there cannot be organized practices or events.

Second is that players can leave their team’s markets. Many players live in another city — maybe where they grew up, maybe in a major market like Los Angeles — than the one they play in. This is the league essentially telling players they can go home so long as they keep in touch and continue safe practices.

On Sunday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued guidelines that said there should be no gatherings of more than 50 people for the next 60 days. That would take the NBA into mid-May to start up, at the earliest, and the season could run into late July or even August.

What that does to the rest of the NBA schedule — the draft in late June, Summer League in July, and the chance for players to participate in the Olympics in Tokyo starting July 24 — remains up in the air.