As NBA teams begin the process of reopening their facilities for players to work out, one problem that has not yet been addressed is what to do about international players, many of whom flocked home, primarily to Europe, when the NBA paused its season.
According to Ramona Shelburne of ESPN, many players simply don’t see the point of risking their health returning to the workplace, let alone traveling internationally, unless there is a concrete plan toward resuming the season.
“Some guys will stay out of market, and some guys will be in market and not go (to a practice facility),” a Western Conference player told Shelburne. “And some will choose to use it.”
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Some executives believe there would be a greater eagerness in these workouts if the league opened facilities with a step-by-step plan to proceed to a training camp. “If this was tied to a return to play, you’d see something of a different attitude,” one Western Conference GM said.
As one playoff team prepares to open its facility in the coming weeks, one of its top basketball executives cautions: “Once we have clearance, I’d be surprised if any of our players flew back into market for this.”
That includes players like Luka Doncic, whom Shelburne reports flew back to Slovenia to be with his family while the NBA went on hiatus.
An agent told Shelburne, “It took two to three weeks for everything to unwind when we shut down. It’ll take at least that long for guys to get back to town. And they’re not going to start flying back until they hear the league is starting up again.”
Players seem to be growing weary, which led to a scheduled call on Friday. It is unclear exactly what will happen on said call, but it will include commissioner Adam Silver, National Basketball Players Association executive director Michele Roberts, and many players and other parts of the league infrastructure.