Brooklyn is the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic, not just in the city or state or even the United States. As of Tuesday, Kings County (Brooklyn’s official government designation) is the U.S. county with the most deaths due to the coronavirus. The total, now more than 4,100, exceeds death tolls in 46 states. Neighboring Queens County is second.
It’s a ghastly fact that even Nets players won’t be able to ignore if and when they’re permitted back inside the HSS Training Center in Brooklyn’s Sunset Park.
Across from 39th Street, from the facility, in a city parking lot, are a fleet of refrigerator trucks, mobile morgues set up to handle the overflow of deaths in New York. A spokesperson for the Mayor’s office told the Daily Mail that many of the trucks are currently empty, but needed to be parked somewhere.
As Sean Marks said last week in an interview with a New Zealand website: “We’re right in the heart of it. The sights and sounds of it cannot be ignored.”
Indeed, state and city guidelines could keep the Nets at the end of the NBA line when it comes to opening up their practice facility. Adrian Wojnarowski reported Wednesday that the NBA hopes that 22 of the 30 franchises will have facilities open for workouts by Monday, But, the Nets won’t be one of them, according to a league source. There is even fear that the Nets and Knicks will not be open anytime soon.
Will the lack of a workout facility give other teams a competitive advantage?
These are not practices. No scrimmages. No head coach. Only four players can work out at any one time and it’s all voluntary. Teams opening practice facilities for volunteer workouts must designate six assistant coaches or player development personnel to provide supervision of the workouts.
Players must wear face masks except when undergoing physical activity. Staffers working with players must wear gloves and maintain physical distancing of at least 12 feet. In addition, the NBA has also requested each team assign a senior executive to the position of Facility Hygiene Officer.
Still, 12 of the Heat’s 17 players showed up at their Miami practice facility at American Airlines Arena Wednesday to shoot around and get conditioning. Other teams are also open for their players to work out, shoot around. More will open over the weekend.
Two Nets, Joe Harris and Garrett Temple, have been at HSS rehabbing injuries for several weeks. Other Nets are far away. Kevin Durant and DeAndre Jordan retreated to their homes in southern California while Spencer Dinwiddie is in San Antonio, home of his long time girl friend, Arielle Roberson.
What about moving to a neutral site? Too complicated, said the league source, and it hasn’t been discussed.
How soon will the situation be resolved and if it isn’t, could the Nets work out elsewhere? At this point, no one is saying. Stay tuned.
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