Kings

Kings release injury updates for young stars De'Aaron Fox, Marvin Bagley

Kings release injury updates for young stars De'Aaron Fox, Marvin Bagley

SACRAMENTO -- Kings Head coach Luke Walton is going to have to wait a little longer before he’s playing with a full deck of cards.

Trevor Ariza is back in the fold, but neither De’Aaron Fox, nor Marvin Bagley is ready to go just yet.

Ariza has missed seven of the last eight games with a sore groin and a personal issue. When the team’s injury report came out on Monday afternoon, the 16-year NBA veteram was not listed and he is expected to suit up.

According to an official release from the Kings, Fox, who has a Grade 3 ankle sprain, will not travel with the team on their upcoming four-game road trip.

“[Fox] continues to make progress as he has returned to on-court, non-contact basketball activities,” the release says.

The 21-year-old point guard injured his left ankle at the end of practice on Nov. 11. He has missed the last nine games for the Kings and will be re-evaluated in two-to-three weeks.

[RELATED: Bogi playing through pain, wants to help Kings win games]

Bagley broke his right thumb in the season opener in Phoenix and has yet to be cleared for contact. He’s been on the court working out and staying in shape, but he will miss at least another two games for Sacramento before being re-evaluated by the end of the week by the team’s medical staff.

Walton continues to mix and match his lineups and has his team playing well. After an 0-5 start, the Kings are rolling into December at 8-10, and currently are tied for the eighth-best record in Western Conference.

Why Mike Bibby describes playing with Kings as best time of his life

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Why Mike Bibby describes playing with Kings as best time of his life

The Kings’ Mike Bibby era was iconic. 

His seven-season run with players like Chris Webber never will be forgotten for all the success Sacramento saw on the court.

Bibby sat down with CBS Local’s DJ Sixsmith and talked about his run with Sacramento -- a fit that was comfortable for Bibby right away. Even though trading for him meant bidding farewell to Jason Williams, a guy Kings fans were in love with. 

“The guys treated me like I was there for five, six, seven years," Bibby said. "I got there and Jason Williams was a prized possession in Sacramento and when I got traded for him, I just wanted to fit in, I didn’t know if the fans would like me or if the team would like me.

"In my first year we had the best record in the West. I had the best time of my life and my career playing in Sacramento with those guys. I think Sacramento is the best team I played on.”

Bibby detailed the trade, along with the special relationship he and Webber had throughout that stretch and how selfless the Kings were. It didn’t matter who scored, they were a strong team and wanted to win.

“That’s the way basketball is supposed to be played,” Bibby said. “That was the best time of my life -- being in Sacramento.”

[RELATED: Karl Malone admits Webber had more talent than him]

That was a time where the Kings gave the two-time defending NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers a run for their money. The Kings skated through the first two rounds of the playoffs, defeating the Utah Jazz and the Dallas Mavericks. That was all in Bibby’s first season. 

Across those seven seasons with the Kings, Bibby averaged 17.6 points and  3.2 rebounds per game. 

[PURPLE TALK PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

How Kings' playoff chances are affected by NBA's Orlando scenarios

How Kings' playoff chances are affected by NBA's Orlando scenarios

You can almost hear the sound of basketballs bouncing off the gym floor.

The NBA is doing their due diligence in an attempt to restart the 2019-20 season after it was derailed in mid-March as the coronavirus pandemic began shutting down the country.

The latest information is encouraging, but nothing is certain. We are in uncharted waters and commissioner Adam Silver is mulling over a mountain of options as he tries to do what’s best for the league.

“The NBA, in conjunction with the National Basketball Players Association, is engaged in exploratory conversations with The Walt Disney Company about restarting the 2019-20 season in late July at Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Florida as a single site for an NBA campus for games, practices and housing,” league official Mike Bass said in a statement on Saturday.

“Our priority continues to be the health and safety of all involved, and we are working with public health experts and government officials on a comprehensive set of guidelines to ensure that appropriate medical protocols and protections are in place.”

A handful of Kings players have been filtering into the team’s practice facility for almost two weeks. They’re working out under strict guidelines laid out by the league and so far, they’ve done so without incident.

[PURPLE TALK PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

An NBA source told NBC Sports California that the Kings will defer to the NBA on the subject of potentially resuming the season and what that might entail.

According to assistant coach Bobby Jackson, the solo workouts have been spirited and from the conversations he’s had, the Kings’ players would love to come back and finish off the season.

“Honestly, I think the guys want to play basketball,” Jackson said on the latest edition of the Purple Talk podcast. “I think they want to play in a safe environment though and I know the NBA will do a great job of putting us in a great environment that will allow us to be safe.”

According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, teams were given a questionnaire this week that will likely impact the way this season concludes.

The league appears to be focused on Orlando as their possible landing spot to finish the season, but they are open to shortening the season, using a play-in tournament or just skipping straight to the postseason.

Out of all of these options, a play-in tournament might be the most appealing to the Kings. If the league were to resume the regular season, it would be tough to imagine them fitting in all 18 remaining games on the Kings’ schedule.

When the league was put on pause on March 11, the Kings were tied for the ninth spot in the Western Conference standings, just three and a half games behind the Memphis Grizzlies with 18 games remaining.

In a race that could come down to the final two or three games of the season, any reduction in games would likely hurt the Kings’ chances. As the standings currently sit, the Kings are in a three-way tie with the Portland Trail Blazers and New Orleans Pelicans for ninth place.

Portland has played two more games than both the Kings and Pelicans, so they hold a slight win percentage advantage. The Blazers and Kings have split the season series 2-2. New Orleans won their season series against Portland 3-0 and they have a 1-0 advantage over the Kings, with two head-to-head games remaining.

Sacramento would not only need to come out ahead of the Blazers and Pelicans, but they also need to track down the Grizzlies. The Kings won the season series 3-1 over the Grizzlies, but making up three and a half games isn’t an easy feat.

Memphis had one of the most difficult remaining schedules out of any team, but that could change dramatically if they don’t have to complete their entire schedule.

Heading straight to the playoffs would be bad for Sacramento as well, unless the league expanded to 20, 22 or 24 teams for the tournament. As the standings sit now, the Kings would need the league to allow at least 20 teams and potentially 22 teams into the postseason.

[RELATED: Jackson insists players want to finish season]

A play-in tournament would at least give the Kings a fighting chance to end their 13-season postseason drought. We have no idea what that tournament might look like at this point, but the Kings would likely be involved.

There are still plenty of moving pieces for the league to nail down, but it appears they are forging ahead and taking input on the finer details.

The only thing we know for certain is that fans will have to watch games from the comfort of their homes if and when the league returns. It’s painful to imagine, but there is a possibility that the Kings could snap their postseason drought, but not get to host the first ever home playoff game at Golden 1 Center.