In the midst of late-April reporting that the NBA could allow franchises to open their practice facilities as early as May 1, Atlanta Hawks president of basketball operations Travis Schlenk indicated that the team had “no plans” to do so at the earliest possible time. Since then, the NBA shifted its timetable to May 8 as the date of reopening in areas where shelter-in-place orders are eased but, just days before that benchmark arrives, Schlenk visited with The Morning Show with John and Hugh on 92.9 The Game in Atlanta and laid out the team’s current timetable for reopening.
“The league, as of now, is going to allow markets where they are easing the stay-at-home orders to open their facilities back up to players,” Schlenk said. “Why they chose to do that on a Friday is kind of a head-scratching day to choose to do that. We’re aiming to be open up next week to allow our players to come in and get shots. We’re going to be really cautious with it and start off at a really slow pace. But it’s something we hope to have up and running next week.”
It will be interesting to see how other teams operate in similar situations, particularly when it comes to the exact date of May 8. Still, it appears at least some of the league’s franchises plan to get things going, albeit in limited fashion.
As part of the league’s announcement concerning a May 8 reopening, restrictions were imposed as to how things will be permitted to take place inside facilities. No more than four players are allowed inside the facility at any one time, and no head or assistant coaches are permitted to participate. In addition, group activities, including practices or scrimmages, remain banned.
No official announcement has been made on the specific reopening date and, as Schlenk notes, more discussions are set to take place before the doors swing open.
“We’re obviously monitoring the situation here in Atlanta,” Schlenk added. “I’ve got a meeting with our doctors coming up this Thursday just to get the latest numbers. It’s difficult to get accurate counts on these cases if you’re following it. They just don’t make it easy to get an accurate picture. So we’re meeting with our doctors to make sure everything is still going the right direction here in Atlanta, but it’s something that we hope to be able to have open next week.”