Cavs: NBA allowing more team practice facility involvement is big

Cleveland Cavaliers guards Collin Sexton (left) and Darius Garland high-five. (Photo by Bart Young/NBAE via Getty Images)
Cleveland Cavaliers guards Collin Sexton (left) and Darius Garland high-five. (Photo by Bart Young/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The Cleveland Cavaliers haven’t been able to have much group practice involvement.

It’s been since March 10 since the Cleveland Cavaliers have had formal game action. Shortly following that close loss to the Chicago Bulls, the NBA past season went into its novel coronavirus-induced hiatus, and then the Cavs were ultimately not a club that participated in the Orlando area restart.

It seems that Cavs players have been able to get their individual work in, with some at the practice facility, though it appears the squad has been largely scattered throughout what’s been an extended offseason.

The group, generally, has not been able to get much time together in practice/with team practices/limitations of numbers of personnel due to COVID-19 guidelines.

Granted, it was a plus that the Cavaliers did conduct their own voluntary in-market team bubble workouts with some 5-on-5 scrimmaging involved in late September, though. That was nice for team chemistry, too.

And fortunately for the Cavs, a bit of meaningful news came on Friday, per a report from Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium. Charania reported how the NBA “informed its 30 teams that they are now allowed to open practice facilities for group practices, workouts and scrimmages with up to 10 players,” which is a big plus for Cleveland. Every day/each time players return to facilities, they must be tested, and return a negative COVID-19 test, from a common sense standpoint as well, as h/t ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

That Friday news is big for the Cavs.

This news from Shams is big for the Cavaliers, with young players, such as Darius Garland, Cleveland’s 2019-20 scoring leader with 20.8 points per game, Collin Sexton, Kevin Porter Jr. and Dylan Windler being able to get more team workout-oriented burn in.

The Cavs not being an Orlando bubble team made operations tougher for them, obviously, but at least being able to have the practice facilities open for team practices, workouts and scrimmages “with up to 10 players” has to help some for player development.

Now, this doesn’t mean the whole squad will necessarily be around, as Kevin Love and Cedi Osman, for example, are in the New York City area and Osman’s in his native Turkey.

We’ll have to see/look out for reports as far which players will be mostly involved in this type of thing for the Wine and Gold in coming weeks, albeit again, this news from Friday from Charania was really nice to see for the Cavs. That’s with how group work/5-on-5 scrimmaging has been so limited.

Additionally, given that the league previously expressed the desire to start next season on Dec. 22, per reports, of which you can view details here, teams being able to have more practice facility involvement for players is crucial.

There was reportedly considerable push back to that Dec. 22 start date proposal among players, though, per Yahoo! Sports’ Chris Haynes, who noted a “Jan. 18 – MLK Day,” start is what they’re pushing for, with free agency starting on “Dec. 1.” And NBPA head Michele Roberts, who also hit on impending new Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiations/more on the timeline, emphasized her concerns with that and said that proposed start date “defies common sense,” per Charania.

That said, further reports from Marc Stein of the New York Times leads one to believe that Dec. 22 start to the 2020-21 season, seemingly to have next season wrapped up by next summer’s Olympics from a “television partners” standpoint for the league. Stein also stressed how the players may only “be offered a 50-game” campaign, given that potential of clashing with the Olympics, and that if that were to play out, players’ salaries would reduce “significantly.”

Considering those reports from Stein, it seems likely we could see a Dec. 22 start to next season, so again, though, for the Cleveland Cavaliers, more team practice facility involvement is big, as I would think that should help young incumbent players, at minimum.

That should help Cavs head coach J.B. Bickerstaff, too, who had the squad playing well in his time taking over in that role post-All-Star break leading into the hiatus.

The Cavs were seemingly gaining momentum then, and were a respectable 5-6, while being sixth in the league in assist rate and 10th in effective field goal shooting.

Next. Heavily involving Kevin Porter Jr. early should jump-start him in year 2. dark

Anyhow, while one would assume a Dec. 22 start would be tough on rookies/free agents changing teams, it’s a plus that more team scrimmaging/group practice involvement has been given the green light by the NBA. That’s especially for a non-prior Orlando team like the Cavs.