Kings Rumors

Kings Latest Team To Shut Down Practice Facility

The list of NBA teams temporarily closing their practice facilities continues to grow. According to Sam Amick of The Athletic (Twitter link), the Kings have shut down their facility after a member of their traveling party tested positive for COVID-19 on Sunday.

It’s not clear whether the individual who tested positive is a player, coach, or team staffer. However, with the Kings scheduled to travel to Orlando this Wednesday, the team doesn’t intend to reopen its practice facility before then, Amick adds.

The Kings are the seventh of the 22 teams traveling to Orlando known to have closed their practice facility due to at least one positive coronavirus test. The Bucks, Clippers, Heat, Nuggets, Suns, and Nets have done so as well, though some have since reopened.

As we’ve noted in earlier stories, the NBA anticipated having a number of individuals testing positive for COVID-19 before clubs reported to Orlando — the goal is to make sure that no one who has tested positive enters the Disney campus until they’ve gone through a self-quarantine period, tested negative twice, and been medically cleared.

Still, the ongoing positive tests are certainly a concern. If the Kings’ latest coronavirus case belongs to a player, that player won’t be able to report to Orlando until later this month and would miss a significant portion of the ramp-up period before games begin.

Previously, Kings veterans Buddy Hield, Jabari Parker, and Alex Len all tested positive for the coronavirus.

Bazemore Hopes To Return To Kings In 2020/21

In anticipation of the Kings returning to NBA action against the Spurs on July 31, James Ham of NBC Sports Bay Area analyzes the team’s full 17-man roster. The team will begin practicing in tandem after the squad arrives at the Orlando Disney World campus next week.

Sacramento big man Marvin Bagley III, injured for most of the season, and newly inked guard Corey Brewer are considered intriguing “wild card” pieces to the Kings puzzle. With a 28-36 record, the Kings are currently on the outside of the playoff hunt looking in.

  • Kings bench swingman Kent Bazemore, currently playing out the final season of a four-year, $70MM contract, has indicated that he would like to re-sign in Sacramento for next season and beyond, according to James Ham of NBC Sports Bay Area (Twitter link). Bazemore was traded to Sacramento from Portland in January. In 21 games with his new team, he has averaged 10.3 PPG, while shooting 42.6% from the field and 38.6% from three-point range, plus 5.0 RPG, 1.1 APG and 1.2 SPG.

Kings Assistant Igor Kokoskov To Coach Fenerbahce

Former Suns head coach and current Kings assistant Igor Kokoskov has agreed in principle to become the new head coach of EuroLeague team Fenerbahce, writes ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Ismail Senol of beIN Sports, who first reported the agreement, tweets that the two sides agreed to a three-year deal. Kokoskov will replace longtime Fenerbahce coach Zeljko Obradovic, a three-time EuroLeague Coach of the Year who parted ways with the Turkish club last week.

Kokoskov became the NBA’s first European-born head coach when he was hired by Phoenix in 2018 to replace Jay Triano. However, he lasted just a single season with the Suns before being replaced by Monty Williams. After interviewing for the Grizzlies’ head coaching vacancy in 2019, Kokoskov ultimately landed in Sacramento as the top assistant on Luke Walton‘s staff.

A native of Serbia, Kokoskov is currently the head coach of the country’s national team and will look to lead Serbia to a spot in the Tokyo Olympics next summer. He previously coached the Slovenian National Team, leading that club to a 2017 EuroBasket victory, and was also the head coach of the Georgian National Team from 2008-15.

Despite his agreement with Fenerbahce, Kokoskov will join the Kings in Orlando this summer and finish out the season with the team, tweets Jason Jones of The Athletic.

Kings Notes: Fox, Walton, Parker, Bagley

The long layoff hasn’t changed De’Aaron Fox‘s mind about wanting to sign a long-term contract with the Kings, reports James Ham of NBC Sports Bay Area. On a Zoom session with the media today, Fox confirmed he still hopes to work out a rookie scale extension once the offseason arrives.

“I see myself being here. I want to be here,” he said. “Obviously, you know we want to win and right now, I think last year, we put ourselves in a good position. This year, we’re sort of in the same position to still make the playoffs. So that’s what we all want and then continue to take the next step forward.”

In his third NBA season, Fox has developed into one of the league’s most exciting young point guards and the focus of his franchise. A league source tells Ham that some extension negotiations have already taken place, but they are on hold because of uncertainty over the salary cap. Fox is eligible for a new deal that could extend his current contract by up to five years.

There’s more from Sacramento:

  • Fox believes the Kings are being unfairly overlooked by the national media, Ham writes in a separate story. Sacramento is tied with the Pelicans and Trail Blazers in the Western Conference playoff race, but was ignored by ESPN and The Ringer in two widely reported incidents. “I think it’s disrespectful that we don’t even stand a chance, like we shouldn’t be there,” he said. “The slow start is what it is, but at the end of the day, I feel like we have just as much of a chance as these other teams.”
  • Coach Luke Walton told the media he has talked to Jabari Parker about a weekend incident in which he was filmed playing tennis in a Chicago park without a face mask, Ham adds in another piece. Parker was one of three Kings reported last week to have tested positive for COVID-19, but he said his in-house quarantine was complete and he was social distancing during the game. “I talked to Jabari about being out in public and kind of reminded him, one, that even though he’s been cleared to end his self-isolation, we still can’t have anyone who gets sick doing hard physical work until a later date when you’re cleared by doctors,” Walton said. Parker remains in Chicago, and Walton isn’t sure if he will fly to Sacramento for camp or wait to join the team in Orlando.
  • The training staff expects Marvin Bagley III to be ready when the season resumes, tweets Jason Jones of The Athletic. The second-year forward has played just 13 games this year because of a left foot sprain and a broken thumb.

Kings Notes: Parker, Hield, Len, Schedule

The Kings have little to say about a TMZ report that Jabari Parker was playing tennis without a mask Saturday at a park in Chicago, writes Ali Thanawalla of NBC Sports. Parker revealed Wednesday that he had tested positive for COVID-19.

“We are aware of the report and are gathering additional information,” the team said in a prepared statement. “We have no further comment at this time.”

Parker told Ben Stinar of The Big Lead that he has completed his in-house quarantine and was social distancing during the tennis game (Twitter link). Many Kings players have returned to Sacramento to train, but Parker has stayed in his hometown of Chicago, and there’s no official word on when he will join the team, according to Thanawalla. He has appeared in just one game since being acquired from the Hawks at the trade deadline.

There’s more Kings news to pass along:

  • Buddy Hield expects to “be fine by Monday” after testing positive this week, but he’ll have to wait before resuming basketball activities, according to Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee. Under NBA guidelines, any player with COVID-19 must stop training for two weeks from the date of the first positive test or the resolution of viral symptoms. Hield said his positive test was last week, while teammate Alex Len tested positive on Tuesday.
  • The Kings got a bad break in their Orlando schedule, Thanawalla observes in a separate story. Seven of the eight games were on their original slate, but a contest against the Pacers has been replaced by another showdown with the Lakers, who have the West’s best record and have already beaten Sacramento twice. However, that game is the season finale, so L.A. may have already wrapped up the No. 1 seed.
  • Jason Jones of the Athletic offers a game-by-game analysis of Sacramento’s schedule as the franchise tries to secure a playoff berth for the first time since 2006. The Kings are three and a half games behind Memphis for the eighth spot and will need to finish ninth – and within four games of the eighth spot – to qualify for a play-in tournament.

Pelicans-Jazz Begins NBA Restart On July 30

The Pelicans and rookie star Zion Williamson will face the Jazz on July 30 at 6:30 p.m. ET in the first game of the NBA’s restart, the league announced on Friday.

There will be 88 “seeding” games from July 30 to August 14 prior to the postseason.

The Clippers will square off against the Lakers in the second game on July 30 at 9 p.m. ET. The first two games will be broadcast by TNT.

It will get very busy the next day with six games scheduled, highlighted by Celtics vs. Bucks and Rockets vs. Mavericks. There will be a maximum of seven games per day, with start times ranging from 12-9 p.m.

At the conclusion of the seeding games, the seven teams in each conference with the highest combined winning percentages across regular-season games and seeding games will be the first through seventh seeds for the conference playoffs.  If the team with the eighth-best combined winning percentage (regular-season games and seeding games) in a conference is more than four games ahead of the team with the ninth-best combined winning percentage in the same conference, then the team with the eighth-best winning percentage would be the No. 8 seed.

If the team with the eighth-best combined winning percentage in a conference is four games or fewer ahead of the team with the ninth-best combined winning percentage in the same conference, then those two teams would compete in a play-in tournament to determine the No. 8 playoff seed in the conference.  The play-in tournament will be double elimination for the eighth-place team and single elimination for the ninth-place team.

Much of the intrigue regarding the seeding games concerns the final Western Conference spot. The Grizzlies, currently eighth, hold a 3 1/2-game lead over the Trail Blazers, Pelicans and Kings, a four-game lead over the Spurs and a six-game advantage on the Suns.

Memphis will face the Blazers, Spurs, Pelicans, Jazz, Thunder, Raptors, Celtics and Bucks during the seeding round. Among the Grizzlies’ pursuers, the Pelicans appear to have the weakest schedule. After opening against the Jazz, they’ll face the Clippers, Grizzlies, Kings (twice), Wizards, Spurs and Magic.

The Nets and Magic need only to hold off the Wizards in the East to claim the final two spots in their conference. Washington trails Brooklyn by six games and Orlando by 5 1/2 games.

The breakdown of each team’s seeding schedule can be found here. The day-by-day schedule and national TV schedule can be found here.

Batum, DeRozan Among Players With Earlier Option Decision Deadlines

Most veterans who have player options in their contracts for the 2020/21 season will have an October 17 deadline to either exercise or decline that option. That Saturday represents the second-last day of the 2019/20 league year under the NBA’s new calendar, meaning it would coincide in a normal year with June 29, the usual player option decision deadline.

However, according to ESPN’s Bobby Marks, some of the players who have to make option decisions for 2020/21 have slightly earlier deadlines. For instance, if the Spurs don’t make the postseason, DeMar DeRozan will be required to make his decision within seven days of the team’s last game, per Marks.

The full list of player options for ’20/21 can be found on our free agents page, but here are the options which must be exercised or declined before October 17, according to Marks:

The rest of this season’s player option decisions must be made by October 17, a deadline that applies to nearly every team option for 2020/21 as well. The only team options with earlier decision dates are minimum-salary ones for Deonte Burton (Thunder) and Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk (Pistons), which are due by October 15, per Marks.

Alex Len Tests Positive For COVID-19

A third Kings player has tested positive for COVID-19, with Shams Charania of The Athletic reporting (via Twitter) that center Alex Len has been diagnosed with the coronavirus. Word broke earlier tonight that Jabari Parker and Buddy Hield have also tested positive.

“I underwent testing yesterday in Sacramento and was found to be positive for COVID-19,” Len said in a statement. “I want to think the Sacramento Kings for their great care and the NBA for putting the protocols in place to allow me to catch this early. I have immediately entered isolation and look forward to being cleared and rejoining my teammates for our playoff push.”

Len, who turned 27 last Tuesday, appeared in nine games for the Kings this season after being traded from Atlanta to Sacramento along with Parker. He averaged 6.6 PPG, 7.1 RPG, and 1.4 BPG in 16.7 minutes per contest for the Kings.

Teams playing in Orlando this summer can opt to replace a player who contracts COVID-19 with a substitute player. However, with the start of the seeding games still more than five weeks away, there’s no indication at this point that Len, Parker, or Hield won’t be recovered and ready to go when the season resumes.

Buddy Hield Tests Positive For Novel Coronavirus

Kings swingman Buddy Hield has tested positive for the novel coronavirus COVID-19, according to Sean Cunningham of ABC10 Sacramento (Twitter link). According to Cunningham, Hield has been in Dallas for most of the NBA’s hiatus, but had notched 45 points during a Skinz League Game in Oklahoma two weeks ago.

Hield tells Leo Beas of Cowbell Kingdom (Twitter link) that he feels fine and will be ready to join the team in Orlando once he’s medically cleared.

Hield was replaced by Bogdan Bogdanovic in the team’s starting lineup by first-year Kings head coach Luke Walton in January, and has come off the bench for the team’s past 20 games. Hield converted 46.3% of his long range attempts in February following the move, per Jason Anderson of the Sacramento Bee.

The 6’4″ Hield, an Oklahoma alum, is averaging 19.8 PPG, 4.8 RPG, and 3.1 APG for the 28-36 Kings this season. This year overall, Hield is connecting on 42.9% of his field goals (including 39.5% on a career-high 9.7 three-point attempts per game) and 85.5% of his attempts from the charity stripe.

Meanwhile in Chicago, Hield’s Kings teammate Jabari Parker announced today that he too has tested positive for the coronavirus. Sacramento made the cut to join the 22 squads invited to the NBA’s season restart in Orlando.

Jabari Parker Tests Positive For COVID-19

Kings power forward Jabari Parker has tested positive for the novel coronavirus COVID-19, according to an announcement from Parker via the team’s official Twitter account (Twitter link). In the statement, Parker indicated that he had received the news “several days ago” and has been self-isolating at his Chicago home.

“I am progressing in my recovery and feeling well,” Parker said. “I look forward to joining my teammates in Orlando as we return to the court for the resumption of the NBA season.”

Parker was part of a trade deadline deal that sent him and center Alex Len to Sacramento by way of Atlanta in a deal that shipped Dewayne Dedmon back to the Hawks. He has played just one game for the Kings in California’s state capital.

Across 33 games played this season (32 of those transpiring in Atlanta), Parker has averaged 14.7 PPG on a solid 49.9% field goal percentage, with 5.9 RPG and 1.8 APG. The former No. 2 overall pick in the 2014 NBA draft has fashioned himself into a bench scorer since returning from two devastating ACL tears in his left knee while with his first club, the Bucks. The Kings are his fourth team in the past two seasons.

The Kings number among the 22 NBA teams that will be part of the league’s restart, scheduled for July 30th in Orlando. The team added Corey Brewer after discovering the news of Parker’s condition, according to Sam Amick of The Athletic (Twitter link).