CJ McCollum Questions the Blazers’ Decision to Reopen the Team’s Practice Facility

Portland is one of three teams to allow players to voluntarily resume training.

The Portland Trail Blazers are among three NBA teams that have opted to reopen their practice facilities on Friday following a league ruling allowing players to resume training on a voluntary basis.

But one of their star players is concerned about the decision.

"I get the measures [the league is] taking," Portland guard CJ McCollum told Yahoo Sports, "but you have to think, at some point, when there are drastic measures that need to be taken, is it really worth it? It's either safe or it's not."

The NBA suspended its season March 11 after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19. Team practice areas were ordered to close soon after.

On Wednesday, the league announced that teams in cities and states that have relaxed stay-home orders may reopen their training facilities for restricted workouts. According to media reports, the Blazers, Denver Nuggets and Cleveland Cavaliers will be making their gyms available to players beginning May 8.

The NBA outlined the conditions of the reopenings in a memo sent to teams yesterday, which include limiting practices to no more than four players at a time, barring group scrimmages and maintaining a physical distance of at least 12 feet. Coaching staffs are also prohibited from attending.

McCollum told Yahoo Sports reporter Chris Haynes that while he appreciates "the caution, structure and measures the Blazers organization has put in place," he questioned the effectiveness of training under the current restrictions.

"The issue is, you can go to your practice facility, but there's all these stipulations," McCollum said. "You can't use certain stuff, can't do certain stuff. Now they're talking about you might have to be 12 feet away from your strength coach. How are you going to lift 12 feet away from somebody?"

Representatives from the Blazers did not respond to requests for comment.

McCollum was among the first athletes to publicly express concerns over COVID-19. Shortly after the first case of the virus was confirmed in Oregon in late February, he said he would no longer sign autographs as a precaution. He later appeared in a video with Gov. Kate Brown, urging children to wash their hands and avoid touching their face to protect against the disease.

Haynes also reported that McCollum's family believes his great aunt, who died in April, succumbed to coronavirus complications, though that has not been confirmed.

The NBA has not yet made a decision about if and when its season will resume. Today, Gov. Brown announced that all large public gatherings in the state were canceled through September—that includes sporting events with fans in attendance.

Related: Gov. Kate Brown Will Require Face Masks at Many Oregon Businesses.

Willamette Week’s reporting has concrete impacts that change laws, force action from civic leaders, and drive compromised politicians from public office. Support WW's journalism today.