The NBA informed teams this weekend that franchises located in states that are relaxing social-distancing standards and stay-at-home orders can reopen their training facilities Friday, but Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said he is waiting for more direction from the league.
Cuban told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer in an interview Sunday evening that “the minute it’s safe, we want to try to get back and get the guys practicing and getting ready for games. But we’re not there yet.”
Georgia’s restrictions have been lifted on fitness centers and gyms, and Oklahoma is scheduled to do the same this week. Texas also could be opening some gyms. The NBA, according to a person unauthorized to speak publicly, would prefer its players be in controlled environments such as an NBA facility to work with staff in an individual setting.
Team workouts have not been approved, according to a person with knowledge of the situation. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said earlier this month that no decision about a timetable for resuming the season will be made until May at the earliest.
The NBA ordered practice facilities to be closed by March 20 after the suspension of play on March 11.
The latest news seems to give teams in states removing restrictions an advantage over teams located in states hit harder by the COVID-19 pandemic, including the four teams in California, where stay-at-home orders in some counties are indefinite. Other teams are located in states that have social-distancing restrictions in play through mid-May and later.
The Golden State Warriors plan to follow the lead of San Francisco officials.
“We’ll do whatever [San Francisco Mayor] London Breed says,” a Warriors spokesman told The Chronicle.
Cuban told Blitzer that when play resumes, if it ever does this year, “there’ll be protocols we can have confidence in. … so we’re not going to do anything until it’s absolutely, positively safe.”
The Mavericks owner believes that if the NBA returns to the court, it will be without fans attending games.
“If we can play with no fans, I’m certainly going to push for it and I think the league will do it,” he said on CNN. “I think we have a moral obligation to do it. We’re dying for content, we’re dying for teams to root for, we’re dying to get excited about games and just ready to go and cheer as a community. And so yes, I really think that if we’re able to pull it off without fans, we’re certainly going to do it.”