Kings

Kings' Vivek Ranadive believes NBA Orlando bubble plan safer than home

Kings' Vivek Ranadive believes NBA Orlando bubble plan safer than home

How safe is the NBA’s proposed Orlando bubble for restarting the 2019-20 season? No one will know for sure until 22 teams move into the Disney property and test it out, but according to Sacramento Kings co-owner and chairman Vivek Ranadivé, the parameters put in place by the league will make the bubble concept safer than being at home.

“Nothing is going to be ever a 100 percent foolproof,” Ranadivé told CNBC’s Tyler Mathisen during a recent interview on “Power Lunch”. “When you walk into a grocery store, you’re taking chances. We have a close relationship with Disney’s Bob Iger and I have a high level of confidence that we’re going to be safer in Orlando than most people would be at home.”

A version of the 113-page manual created by the league made its way into the hands of media members on Tuesday. It’s a comprehensive handbook that covers everything from specific dates to how and when players' families can be added to the festivities.

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According to Ranadivé, he was part of the process for creating the plan that is about to get set in motion by the league.

“I was part of the sub-committee that shaped how we would come back and I believe that the NBA has really thought this through well,” Ranadive said.

This is a complicated situation. Not only is the coronavirus pandemic a real threat to player and staff safety, but the United States also is in the midst of social outcry following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis Police custody.

Protests are going on all over the country. For some players, there is concern that a return of the NBA will distract from the message of those protests and that progress being made toward racial equality in America will be stunted.

According to Ranadivé, the Kings are ready to jump back into the competition.

“Our players, they love to compete, they love to play hoops and they are excited to be there,” Ranadivé said when asked whether any of the Kings players would opt out of the Orlando bubble.

Both Ranadivé and the Kings have been extremely active in the push for social change since ownership of the team changed hands in 2013.

On Wednesday, the franchise announced that they will formally add Juneteenth -- the oldest nationally celebrated holiday that commemorates the ending of slavery in the United States -- as a company-wide paid holiday.

They also have partnered with the local Sacramento group “Build. Black. Coalition” to invest in Black youth programs in the area and have launched Team Up For Change with the Milwaukee Bucks to promote conversations and address issues of social injustice.

“We’re blessed to be in a league with leadership and the players, the Kings, where players really do care about those issues,” Ranadivé said. “So from our perspective, they’ve always known that it was bigger than basketball and they are going to use this platform to make the world better.”

From the bubble to the coronavirus pandemic to the movement to promote social change, there is a lot on the plate of the NBA and it appears that Ranadivé fully is invested in the process.

Kings assistant Igor Kokoskov announced as Fenerbahçe Beko head coach

Kings assistant Igor Kokoskov announced as Fenerbahçe Beko head coach

While Kings assistant coach Igor Kokoskov will travel to Orlando with the team, he has a new gig awaiting him after the NBA season concludes.

European basketball powerhouse Fenerbahçe Beko Istanbul announced Saturday that Kokoskov will be there next head coach.

Kokoskov has agreed to a three-year contract with Fenerbahçe, according to their press release.

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski first reported Thursday that Kokoskov would take over Fenerbahçe. A league source confirmed to NBC Sports California's James Ham that Kokoskov would remain with the Kings through the completion of their 2019-20 slate.

Kokoskov, 48, has been an NBA coach since the 2000-01 season. He spent time as an assistant with the Los Angeles Clippers, Detroit Pistons, Phoenix Suns, Cleveland Cavaliers, Utah Jazz and Kings. He also spent the 2018-19 season as the head coach of the Suns, where he amassed a 19-63 record.

The 2019-20 season was Kokoskov's first on Luke Walton's staff.

Kings guard Bogdan Bogdanovic, who plays for Kokoskov on the Serbian National Team, congratulated his coach on his new job.

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Kokoskov and the Kings are scheduled to arrive in Orlando this upcoming week for the restart of the NBA season. They will participate in three scrimmages before playing eight seeding games. If they can remain within four games of the No. 8 seed, Sacramento would force play-in games for the last playoff seed in the Western Conference.

If the Kings can find a way into the playoffs, they can send Kokoskov out with a bang.

How Kings' scrimmages with Bucks, NBA's best could boost playoff hopes

How Kings' scrimmages with Bucks, NBA's best could boost playoff hopes

You can say this much about the Kings: They'll be very prepared for their eight seeding games during the restarted NBA season.

Sacramento will scrimmage against the Miami Heat, Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Clippers before the Kings' real games begin on July 31 at Disney's ESPN Wide World of Sports in Orlando, Florida.

For those counting at home, the Kings will play the NBA's eighth-best (Miami), fourth-best (LA) and best (Milwaukee) teams by record. The three teams have a combined five All-Stars among them, while the Bucks and Clippers are first (plus-10.7) and third (plus-6.4) in net rating.

The Kings will need to be tested, of course, considering the uphill climb required to make the playoffs.

Sacramento currently is the 11th seed in the Western Conference, 3.5 games back of the eighth-seeded Memphis Grizzlies. The Kings, as the ninth seed, would need to be within 4.0 games of the eighth seed in order to force a play-in series to grab the West's final playoff spot.

Two games against the Zion Williamson-led New Orleans Pelicans loom large in that regard, as does the Kings' lone matchup with the 12th-seeded San Antonio Spurs. Warming up against the Heat, Clippers and Bucks should help them prepare for key games against other contenders, including the West-leading Los Angeles Lakers.

[RELATED: Bazemore would welcome re-signing with Kings in offseason]

Win all eight games, and the Kings likely would make the play-in round at the very least. Harrison Barnes would also finally be able to shave, and earning the eighth seed would end a 14-year postseason drought.

Those are tall tasks, but each might feel slightly less so if Sacramento is able to hang with some of the NBA's best before the restarted season officially tips off.