The New York Knicks have shut down their facility after multiple employees tested positive for COVID-19, the team announced in a press release on Tuesday night. At this time it is unclear when it will re-open.
Three New York Knicks employees tested positive for coronavirus during routine screenings. They are all asymptomatic and currently under quarantine. As a result, the MSG Training Center has been temporarily closed to allow for a thorough cleaning of the facility.
First of all, it’s great news that all of the employees are asymptomatic, as their health is the most important thing here. Zooming out, this is a warning sign that getting through this season will be a difficult challenge for the league. While everyone had to be diligent and careful inside the bubble this summer, there was a sense of security knowing they were in an enclosed environment.
That won’t be the case during the regular season. And as we’ve seen in professional leagues like the MLB, NFL and MLS over the past few months, the combination of travel, close contact with dozens of people and the general state of the pandemic in this country means it’s inevitable that teams will have COVID-19 outbreaks.
How the league handles those situations will be critical in not only keeping everyone healthy, but finishing the season. Last week, the league and the players came to an agreement to start the 2020-21 season on Dec. 22 and play 72 regular-season games. On Tuesday, they finalized an amended CBA to determine financial arrangements and set dates for the offseason. The 2020 NBA Draft is set for Nov. 18, with free agency opening two days later on Nov. 20. Training camps will then open on Dec. 1.
That means there’s only three weeks until teams are supposed to start camp, and there’s already one facility shut down for an undisclosed amount of time. If other teams face similar situations, and have to stop workouts or practices, that could be a significant problem, especially given the condensed pre-season already has health officials around the league worried.
Hopefully everyone will be able to remain healthy, and the league will be able to get through the season with as little trouble as possible, but there’s every reason to be seriously concerned at this time.