The NBA and NBPA have been collaborating in recent weeks on the viability of multiple blood-testing devices for COVID-19 that would provide results within minutes. The breakthrough in testing would be a first step toward resuming play in the near future.
The Illinois-based Abbott Laboratories began shipping its rapid-response tests across the U.S. last week.
There is a collective sense among general managers and athletic training officials that rapid-result testing is the critical hurdle that must be cleared for games of any tape to take place in the coming weeks and months.
"Rapid-testing results are key to return to work, return to sports, everything," one NBA general manager told ESPN, speaking on the condition of anonymity. "Whatever job you have and environment you work in, if you're interacting with people, we're all going to have to feel safe doing that. Sports isn't any different."
The NBA, however, is unlikely to move forward with rapid-testing until there is no longer a shortage of testing available nationwide.
"We are going to be clearly second in line to healthcare workers, transportation workers, public workers, things along those lines," a longtime NBA head athletic trainer said.
"Even if the technology is there, is it accessible?" said another athletic training official with firsthand knowledge of the process. "Because obviously we have higher-priority people that may need that, like our emergency workers and healthcare professionals that definitely take a priority over our players."