If NBA commissioner Adam Silver goes through with a plan of opening up practice facilities to players on Friday in cities no longer under coronavirus lockdown, the Knicks and Nets would face challenges.
A Friday reopening for the two local teams doesn’t jibe well with Gov. Cuomo’s timetable. At his press briefing Sunday, Cuomo reiterated New York’s lockdown won’t end until after May 15.
The Nets’ facility in Brooklyn and the Knicks’ campus in Tarrytown are supposed to be shut down under the state’s order.
A person familiar with the NBA situation said plans are still fluid, but players on teams located in COVID-19 hot spots such as the Nets and Knicks would be helped out if Friday becomes the day for opening league facilities.
At the facilities that do open around the league, players can participate only in individual workouts — and not group sessions — the person said.
The NBA would take the initiative in finding gym spots for Knicks and Nets players to work out in whatever city they are quarantining in on Friday.
Most Knicks are scattered across the country. It is believed only Taj Gibson and Frank Ntilikina are still in the New York area.
The Post has reported Elfrid Payton and Mitchell Robinson are quarantining in New Orleans. RJ Barrett (Orlando), Dennis Smith Jr. (Fayettville, N.C.) Damyean Dotson (Houston), Kevin Knox (Tampa, Fla.) Wayne Ellington (Miami), Bobby Portis (Little Rock, Ark.) Ignas Brazdeikas (Toronto suburbs) and Reggie Bullock (Baltimore) are spread throughout the U.S. and Canada.
There could a scenario, for instance, of Dotson being allowed to shoot at the Houston Rockets facility and Ellington at the Miami Heat complex.
The conflict hurts Brooklyn more. The Nets, who declined comment on the NBA’s plans, are in playoff position while the Knicks are in their sorry state of heading to another lottery. In addition, Nets superstars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving have had their rehabs slowed without state-of-the-art facilities.
Plus, multiple sources have suggested players are finding it difficult to work on their shooting and weight training during the season’s suspension. Brazdeikas, the Knicks rookie, for instance, has been shooting at a hoop in his driveway with his brother.
Atlanta, Miami, Orlando, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio and Oklahoma City are among the teams not expected to be under lock-down orders on Friday.
An NBA memo to the teams was leaked Saturday night regarding Silver’s hopes. It is believed The Players Association was not privy to the memo and would still have to approve Silver’s plan.
Silver’s scheme does not mean he is significantly more optimistic the season will resume, but it’s a first baby step.
The NBA’s pie-in-the-sky vision is to stage a five-to-seven game regular season to satisfy regional TV contracts, but sources believe a more realistic goal is going straight to a 16-team playoff, possibly in Las Vegas.
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At his press conference Sunday, Cuomo said he’s spoken to the local teams and indicated he’d like to see live sports in New York at some juncture without fans. In March, Mayor Bill de Blasio said the Garden would shut “for months.”
“I talked to the sports owners,” Cuomo said. “I don’t know the economic choices are for players staying home — assuming they get less money or no money. If they can make the economics work without the seat sales, I can see having teams play without the seat sales and have the TV revenue. Be creative and try to figure it out. If players can get paid and owners get some revenue, it is better than no revenue, why not? I’d love to watch it.”
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