Georgia, where Governor Brian Kemp started to kick-start the economy last week, was specifically cited by one of the team’s many leaders who would be interested in putting players back into training.
“If our players can travel and play at a 24-hour fitness center in Atlanta, they should be able to access our facilities,” the ESPN general manager said on Saturday.
Players will be allowed to train voluntarily individually but not as a team, sources told ESPN.
The NBA plans to find alternative training arrangements for players in states where homestay orders remain fully intact.
The move of the league to reopen the facilities does not mean that the season will start anytime soon, ESPN sources said.
The NBA became the first American sports league to suspend its season on March 11, after Utah jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for coronavirus. Gobert’s test results arrived shortly before the Jazz game against Oklahoma City Thunder kicked off.
Thousands of fans had already signed up for Thunder’s Chesapeake Energy Arena when the match was postponed. The NBA also canceled the New Orleans Pelicans-Sacramento Kings game that night, and the season was suspended soon after.
“The NBA will use this hiatus to determine the next steps to move forward with regard to the coronavirus pandemic,” the league said in a statement.
The day after the NBA announcement, the dominoes fell, with Major League Soccer, Major League Baseball and the National Hockey League making similar moves. The Champions League football tournament in Europe, the Summer Olympics and several professional golf and tennis events have also been postponed.
The NCAA March Madness women’s and men’s basketball tournaments were canceled, as were Wimbledon and the British Golf Open.
The NFL, which is set to start on August 6 with the Hall of Fame preseason game in Canton, Ohio, has not announced any plans to suspend or truncate its season.
The NFL draft, which was conducted virtually with team leaders selecting the best university players in their country, progressed last week, making it one of the first sport-related events held in the country since the outbreak of the pandemic. The WNBA also completed its project earlier this month.