The COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent need for social distancing has kept NBA players away from their in-season routine for over three months now. As seen from the dozens of social media videos, though, many are trying to stay or get back on track – some are even joined by trainers, teammates, or players from other teams.
It’s a good mind set, and it’s always best for athletes keep their bodies prepared… except the league has certain restrictions for crowded workouts.
No one’s been caught yet, but now that the NBA is on its way for a July 31 return, the league office will start to be stricter as a way to limit potential setbacks. In fact, one group could be on the hot seat soon:
Starting June 23, players who have been working out at private gyms will be prohibited without prior NBA approval. Several Lakers, LeBron included, spent the majority of their hiatus playing on private courts rather than at the facility, where there are restrictions in place.— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) June 17, 2020
This time last month, NBA insider Shams Charania broke the news that LeBron James and other Los Angeles Lakers are working out together.
Regardless of how safe it was, it could now be put on a spotlight. The integrity of the league’s reported guidelines might be tested early as well.
The talk should heat up in the coming days, and it might’ve actually already started in the recent Bill Simmons Podcast. In the episode, Simmons threw out the Lakers rumor to his guest, New Orleans Pelicans guard JJ Redick, and the veteran sharpshooter didn’t disappoint. He claims to have an idea where exactly James and company are holding the private practices.
Bill Simmons and JJ Redick hint that the Lakers have been secretly scrimmaging throughout quarantine at a mansion in Bel-Air with a replica Staples Center court. pic.twitter.com/WCdSTaS1Wu— ³???????????????????? ???? (@33643pts) June 19, 2020
Bill Simmons: There’s this L.A. rumor right now – and I haven’t been able to crack it – of all the Lakers are playing at some rich guy’s house. And it’s all like ‘nobody talk about this,’ but have you heard about different rumors, and what teams are doing, and all that? Are you expecting people to show up [to Orlando] out of shape? What do you think?
JJ Redick: I’ve heard similar things. Obviously nothing has been posted on social media providing us with the evidence that we need, but there is a gentleman, I think his house is in Bel-Air, who has a Staples Center replica in his backyard. It’s a full court, locker rooms, weight rooms, steam shower, whatever you want. I’ve worked out there before. My assumption is those guys are working out there, that would make a lot of sense.
To clarify, the Lakers aren’t the only team to be rumoured about holding secret workouts – the LA Clippers have also done the same. But of course, since the Lakers boast one of the biggest franchises and fanbases in the NBA, and also have LeBron James on top of that, they’ll be the ones who’ll be heavily eyed. Everyone also knows that the Lake Show is trying live up to heavy expectations – James in particular. At 35 years of age, this might be his last true chance to win a championship.
James and the Lakers are trying to fend off a couple of hurdles ahead of the season’s return. For one, they want to regain the momentum they had prior to the suspension of games, where they beat elite opponents Milwaukee Bucks and LA Clippers in consecutive meetings. Then, there’s also the uncertainty surrounding key players Dwight Howard and Avery Bradley, who may both elect to sit out amid the ongoing social issues in America.