Luke Walton provides update on Kings' three positive coronavirus tests

Luke Walton provides update on Kings' three positive coronavirus tests

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.

[RELATED: Breaking down Kings' roster heading into NBA restart in Orlando bubble]

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.

Source: Luke Walton's Kings job safe after Vlade Divac steps down

Source: Luke Walton's Kings job safe after Vlade Divac steps down

Vlade Divac sent seismic shockwaves through Sacramento on Friday when he stepped down as general manager of the Kings. But the coach he hired last year isn't going anywhere for now.

Luke Walton's job as Kings coach is safe for the 2020-21 NBA season, a league source confirmed to NBC Sports California's James Ham.

Divac leaving his position comes a day after the Kings returned home from a disappointing eight-game stretch during the 2019-20 NBA season restart in Orlando, Fla.

The Kings were playing well when the season was stopped in March, and entered the Walt Disney World complex with dreams of ending their 13-year NBA playoff drought. But they lost their first three games in the bubble and never were able to recover, finishing with a 31-41 record.

Walton's first season didn't go as Divac and the Kings had hoped. With Sacramento coming off a 39-win season last year, Walton was supposed to be the missing ingredient that would allow the Kings to take the next jump. An 0-5 start to the season put the Kings in a whole they were never able to dig out of.

[RELATED: Kings face major decisions heading in 2020 offseason]

Now, Walton will get at least one season to prove himself to whoever the Kings hire as their new general manager.

Walton signed a four-year contract with the Kings last April, shortly after he parted ways with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Hall of Famer Joe Dumars, who served as an advisor for Kings owner Vivek Ranadive for the last year, has taken over as interim vice president of basketball operations and will lead the search for the team's next GM.

Vlade Divac steps down as Kings GM; Joe Dumars takes interim role

Vlade Divac steps down as Kings GM; Joe Dumars takes interim role

The Vlade Divac era of Kings basketball has come to an end.

After leaving the Orlando bubble and returning back to Sacramento, Divac officially stepped down from his position as the team’s general manager, per a team press release Friday.

Sam Amick of The Athletic broke the news minutes before the official press release.
“It has been an honor and a privilege to serve as the General Manager for the Kings,” Divac said in the press release. “I want to thank Vivek for the opportunity and recognize all of the incredible colleagues who I had the great pleasure of working with during my tenure. Sacramento and the Kings will always hold a special place in my heart and I wish them all the best moving forward.”
With Divac out of the picture, Joe Dumars, who has acted as an advisor over the last year, will assume an interim role as the executive vice president of basketball operations and will handle GM duties.

“Joe has become a trusted and valued advisor since joining the team last year, and I am grateful to have him take on this role at an important time for the franchise,” said Ranadivé.

Dumars will also aid in the search for a new, permanent general manager. 

Potentially the most crucial line in the team’s press release comes near the bottom of the page.

“No further personnel decisions will be made until a new General Manager is in place,” the release says.

[RELATED: Kings facing major decisions heading into offseason]

The team plans to go through the draft and free-agent process before making a final decision on assistant general managers Peja Stojakovic and Ken Catanella, but a league source confirmed that coach Luke Walton's job is safe for the 2020-21 season.

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