After nearly four months of silence, the Kings held their first media session of the NBA’s restart period on Wednesday afternoon.
Media members weren’t invited into a crammed media room with cameras rolling. Instead, they showed up on little windows of a Zoom phone call, raising their hands to get a question in for head coach Luke Walton.
Walton confirmed that three Kings players have tested positive for the coronavirus and currently are in the league’s protocol. Buddy Hield and Alex Len found out they were positive upon returning to Sacramento, while Jabari Parker is still in Chicago.
“You don’t want anyone to get sick, but if you’re trying to find the bright side, if you test positive now, you’re most likely, from what I can tell, you’ll be ready to play by the time games come around in Orlando,” Walton said. “All three of those guys are reporting that they’re doing much better. We’re doing testing every other day.”
According to Walton, the team is either sending someone to their homes to test, or the three positive players are doing drive-by testing where they don’t even get out of their car.
Parker came under scrutiny this weekend when, according to a published report, he was seen out at a local restaurant in Chicago on Friday and at a public park on Saturday playing tennis.
“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.
In addition to the issue of Parker being out playing tennis before he’s been cleared by team doctors, it is also problematic that he wasn’t wearing a mask, following a positive test, while in public.
“Him, as well as everyone on our team, has been reminded of the importance of wearing facemasks and being socially responsible, not just for ourselves, but for everyone we come in contact with,” Walton added.
Walton wasn’t sure if Parker’s situation was still being looked at by the league and there is no word on when he might fly to Sacramento to begin workouts or if he will meet the team in Orlando once he’s cleared.
Walton has spoken to all of his players and as of now, no one has told him that they intend to opt out of traveling with the team to Orlando for the restart.
“As far as everyone going to Orlando, my understanding is everyone on our team is good with it and excited about it,” Walton said.
Barring any major setbacks, the Kings and all 17 players appear to be moving forward and ready for the challenge that lies ahead in Florida.