If all goes well over the next few weeks, a handful of teams in the NBA will be able to re-open their practice facilities, and the Los Angeles Lakers are hoping they’ll be one of them despite the fact that they live in a state with some of the country’s most restrictive safer at home orders.
On Tuesday, Dave McMenamin of ESPN reported that the Lakers have been in contact with local government officials about the possibility of re-opening the UCLA Health Training Center before May 15, the day the safer at home order is supposed to be lifted in California. If they’re granted permission, the Lakers will have the option to participate in individual workouts at their practice facility.
However, while the workouts will reportedly be optional, the players have made it clear that they’re ready to get back to work, according to McMenamin:
When the workouts begin, they will be voluntary. However, one source present for the conference call said players sounded “eager” to make the first step back since the NBA went on hiatus on March 11 and two Lakers players tested positive for COVID-19 shortly thereafter.
That should hardly come as a surprise. After all, before any of these players were professionals, they played basketball because they loved it. Now that they’re professionals, though, basketball is part of their daily routine, and that routine was abruptly taken from them last month — right when most of them were preparing to increase their focus on basketball.
Their eagerness also likely stems from the fact that they got a taste of what they’re capable of as a team before the season was indefinitely suspended. Sure, having the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference for almost the entirety of the season had to have some impact on their confidence, but not more than beating the LA Clippers and Milwaukee Bucks in back-to-back games did.
The sooner the Lakers can get back to training for the postseason, the more likely it is that they’ll look like the team we saw before the season was suspended — and that team was really good. That being said, there are bigger things than basketball, and if the NBA decides it’s not in the best interest of its players or staff to re-open just yet, then we’ll all just have to stay patient.