Harrison Barnes hasn’t shot a basketball since the NBA shut down on March 11. Bogdan Bogdanovic was shooting on his neighbor's portable hoop and both he and Richaun Holmes were waiting for baskets to show up from online purchases last we spoke.
On Thursday morning, the Kings announced the first step in what likely will be a long process of getting back to some sort of normalcy. Monday, May 11, with the approval of Sacramento County and the NBA, the Kings will reopen their practice facility to players on a volunteer basis.
Per the team’s official release, “To date, no Kings players have experienced COVID-19 symptoms and per league protocol, team medical personnel check-in daily with players to confirm that they do not have symptoms.”
There will be stringent regulations in place. Only four players will be allowed in the gym at the same time and they must use separate courts. No group activity is allowed, including practices or scrimmages.
Staff are required to wear face masks at all time as are players, unless they are on the court doing physical activities.
Players will go through temperature screenings upon entering the building and they will not have access to amenities like the locker room, showers, laundry service, saunas and water therapy.
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The team will have four separate time slots throughout the day with 30-minute breaks in between each session for cleaning. These sessions will be set up with the health and performance staff, as well as the coaching staff.
The Kings officially have 18 games remaining on the 2019-20 schedule. Many of the players haven’t seen each other in person since March 11 when the team was set to take on the New Orleans Pelicans in a huge battle for postseason positioning.
When the season was halted, the Kings trailed the Memphis Grizzlies by three and a half games for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. They were in a three-way tie for ninth place with the Pelicans and Portland Trail Blazers.
According to ESPN, an all players call is supposed to take place on Friday where players will have a chance to speak directly with commissioner Adam Silver and National Basketball Players Association executive director Michele Roberts.
A league source confirmed to NBC Sports California that roughly half of the Kings' players still are in Sacramento at this time.
With the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic still looming and potential for additional waves of infections, the league has yet to set their parameters for a return, but this is a strong first step.