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Nets begin to return to HSS for workouts as renewed play looks good ... so far

On Tuesday, for the first time in more than two and a half months, the sound of bouncing basketballs were heard at the HSS Training Center in Industry City, yet another indicator that the NBA getting close to a return.

The New York Post caught Jarrett Allen, outfitted with a mask, entering the facility Tuesday morning, the only confirmed player to take advantage of the voluntary workouts which were approved by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on Sunday.

Charles Wenzelberg/NY Post

The workouts, to be sure, are merely a first step and they have more than a few restrictions. No more than four players can be in the facility at any one time. No more than one player per basket and workouts are limited to 45 minutes. Assistant coaches, but not the head coach, can work with players ... with 12 feet of separation.

It’s uncertain how many players are in Brooklyn. A Nets spokesman said that about half the 17 players —15 roster players and the two two-ways— remained in the city during the pandemic. For a while and perhaps still, Brooklyn and/or Queens was its worldwide epicenter. The team has not yet recalled players who are out of the market.

Three players are known to have moved across the country at some point following the NBA’s suspension of play. Kevin Durant, who was quarantined after he tested positive on March 13, has spent time in California, as has DeAndre Jordan. Spencer Dinwiddie has worked out in San Antonio.

Meanwhile, Spencer Dinwiddie added to ESPN’s discussion of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving returning to the Nets once the league resumes, calling it the “billion dollar question,” noting that if they do return, “our expectations turn from the playoffs to the championship.” If not, he said the team would continue to “grind” in hopes of making “a run in the playoffs.”

“I look at it like this: At 80 percent, he’s Dirk Nowitzki. At 100 percent, he’s the best scorer of all time, and anywhere in between, he’s still, what, a top-three small forward in the league” Dinwiddie said.

“So, we’re all gonna see. We’re all waiting. I know he’s working extremely hard, but he’s blessed, I think. It’s a little bit different than other people that suffered the Achilles. Outside of obviously Dominique Wilkins, who came back better [after Achilles surgery], the other people that kind of struggled, he’s probably the best shooter of that group. I don’t see a world where he’s not one of the elite players in the world when he comes back.”

On the larger issue of setting up a return to play at Walt Disney World in Orlando, there was some news from the Disney CEO.

In an interview with CNBC, CEO Bob Chapek said “We would be very happy to be able to host the NBA and MLS at Disney World. Even with the reopening of the park to the public (11 July) there is no shortage of space. I think the world is ready to find the magic of Disney.”

The NBA and Disney have been in exploratory talks, but no agreement has been reached.

Disney also announced Wednesday that WDW plans to re-open the park in stages, with The Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom opening on July 11 and EPCOT and Hollywood Studios four days later. One rumored date for an NBA return-to-play is July 22.

The NBA Board of Governors is meeting Friday to discuss details of the return, with more detailed announcement next Monday.