Lost in limbo.
The coronavirus has impacted almost every one of the 22 NBA teams in Orlando in one way or another. For the Kings, they've had four positives tests, three of which now have cleared protocol and made it to the bubble.
Sacramento still is waiting for Harrison Barnes to return and so far, there is very little information on when that might happen.
This is a difficult situation for coach Luke Walton. He's piecing together practices without a handful of rotational players almost every day. An injury to De'Aaron Fox and a rules violation by Richaun Holmes has added to the Kings' woes in Orlando.
On Friday, Walton was asked how long he will wait to on Barnes or if the team is preparing to bring in another able-bodied free agent to bolster the roster under the new modified NBA rules. The answer from the Kings' head coach was as expected.
"That's a conversation I have with Vlade [Divac] all the time and then that's also a conversation that the players need to be involved in, because ultimately, it's also up to them and come out here," Walton said. "As long as Harrison wants to keep pursuing joining the team, we're not going to replace him."
When is too late? It doesn't sound like Walton is putting on a deadline on anything.
"It's one of those things that even if he's not ready for the first game, Harrison means to much to our team that look, we're out here trying to make a playoff push," Walton added. "If we can somehow make that happen and Harrison can join for that part of the bubble, we're not going to give his spot away if that option is available."
Barnes joined the Kings in a trade with the Dallas Mavericks last season and instantly stepped into the starting small forward role. The Kings inked him to a new four-year contract during the summer and the coaching staff loves his versatility and professionalism.
"Harrison allows a lot of freedom as far as us playing different styles of basketball," Walton said. "And everything is on the table coming into this thing. We miss Harrison a lot. We need him back, we want him back, but we can't plan on him being back, just because we don't know."
With Barnes out, the Kings are turning to veteran Kent Bazemore to fill the void in the starting lineup and the late addition of Corey Brewer adds to the depth at the position as well. If Barnes misses major time, Sacramento will have to patch work their way through the eight-game restart and hope for the best.
That will mean more opportunities for players like Bazemore and Brewer, but also Nemanja Bjelica and Marvin Bagley. The next man up mentality never has meant more. The team that can battle through adversity the best has the highest chance of advancing to the playoffs.
Welcome to the reality of the NBA's Orlando bubble, where even a player like Barnes, who rarely misses a game, is a complete unknown.