Kings

NBA rumors: Pistons' Christian Wood tests positive for coronavirus

NBA rumors: Pistons' Christian Wood tests positive for coronavirus

The NBA is a very small world, and over the last few days, it seems to be getting even smaller.

Wednesday’s news that Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for the COVID-19 virus completely shut down the league for a minimum of 30 days. 

Donovan Mitchell tested positive the next day, once again reminding everyone of the close quarters in which a basketball team travels. 

On Saturday afternoon, the league was hit with a third case when Detroit Pistons big man Christian Wood joined the list of players who tested positive for the coronavirus, The Athletic's Shams Charania reported, citing sources.

According to Charania, Wood has yet to show any symptoms from the virus. 

The 24-year-old power forward is having a breakout season for the Pistons, including a stunning 30-point, 11-rebound double-double against Gobert and the Jazz on March 7. 

Six days earlier, Wood dropped 20 points and 12 rebounds in the Pistons' loss to the Kings at Golden 1 Center. 

The league is filled with these crossovers and connections, but speculating on when and how a player contracted the virus is dangerous. These individuals travel constantly, are surrounded by thousands of people, interact with team personnel, media members and countless other people.  

Trying to decipher the who and when of contraction is complicated and perhaps impossible to pinpoint.

[RELATED: Kings-Pelicans ref reportedly tests negative

There is a direct link with the Kings playing the Pistons, but it was before Detroit faced the Jazz. Sacramento also played the Washington Wizards on March 3, four days after they played Gobert and the Jazz.

As of Friday afternoon, the Kings confirmed that none of their players had shown symptoms of the virus. All team activities have been suspended until Monday, March 16 and the players have been asked to stay home during this time.

Why Kings' Bogdan Bogdanovic is prepared for NBA games without fans

bogdanovicusatsi.jpg
USATSI

Why Kings' Bogdan Bogdanovic is prepared for NBA games without fans

There is no guarantee that the NBA will be able to finish the 2019-20 season amidst the coronavirus pandemic. If they are able to pull off the tall task, there is a very good chance that the league will start out playing in empty buildings to ensure player and fan safety.

It is a difficult thought. The sound of sneakers squeaking and the ball bouncing, but nothing else. A referee’s whistle could be heard blocks away without 17,000-plus cheering bodies to dampen the noise. 

From the shot clock buzzer to the sound of Luke Walton’s baritone voice bellowing out commands, it’s all very strange to imagine. 

While the experience would be different for people on the outside looking in, this is how many NBA players grew up with the game. They started playing in front of parents at rec league games, but the real work came in their driveways, at local parks and in gymnasiums where they practice in front of a coach with a whistle.

On the latest edition of the Purple Talk Podcast, we caught up with Kings starting shooting guard Bogdan Bogdanovic, and one of the topics of discussion was the idea of playing without fans. 

“I played in Serbia without fans and we were fighting,” Bogdanovic said. “So I got used to it a little bit.”

Listen and subscribe to the Purple Talk Podcast:

Serbia or New Orleans or the Bahamas, it doesn’t really matter. It wasn’t until college that most of these players truly had the experience of playing in front of a packed house. It might take a game or two to get used to, but that might be the reality facing all professional sports in the near future. 

“It will be weird for sure,” Bogdanovic added. “It will feel like a practice game, not a real game.”

While the Kings are in the middle of a 13-season playoff drought, that doesn’t mean that fans aren’t still flooding into Golden 1 Center every game. Known as one of the most loyal and loud fanbases, Kings fans have an ability to energize the building. 

[RELATED: Kings' Bogdan Bogdanovic shooting on neighbor's hoop during NBA shutdown]

For Bogdanovic, he equated the feeling to being in a battle. 

“The fans are something that brings that feeling like you are in a gladiator arena,” Bogdanovic said. “Imagine two gladiators fighting, or more, without fans. It would be boring.”

Bogdanovic is hoping to return to the court as soon as the league allows it, but he also has a strong perspective. He wants the fans to stay safe and if that means they have to watch the game through the television set while the team plays in an empty arena, then he understands.

We still are at least a month or more away from knowing what might happen this season, but all options are on the table. With any luck, there will be basketball, but what that might look like is a long way from being determined. 

Kings players provide meals to locals in need amid coronavirus pandemic

Kings players provide meals to locals in need amid coronavirus pandemic

The Kings are getting involved.

It started with a 5,000-pound food donation in the early stages of the coronavirus outbreak, but the team is stepping up to help both the local community and abroad.

Late last week the Kings offered up Arco Arena as a surge hospital and it is currently being transformed by the Army Corps of Engineers into a 400-bed facility. On Tuesday, we learned that Bogdan Bogdan, Nemanja Bjelica and Ana and Vlade Divac are sending aid to Serbia, including ventilators, masks and other medical supplies.

Bogdanovic is now joining Richaun Holmes, De’Aaron Fox and Harrison Barnes in a new local venture, where the players are partnering to support local eateries while supplying over 1,000 meals to families in the Sacramento area.

“Since coming to Sacramento I have experienced firsthand how our community is truly one big family, so my teammates and I are committed to looking out for those in need and lending a helping hand,” Holmes, who initiated the plan, said via press release. “I am very thankful for my teammates in joining me to help bring smiles to others and get through this time together.”

The quartet of players are working with non-profits Juma Ventures and City Year, as well as Buckhorn Grill, Chicago Fire, Fixins Soul Kitchen and Jimboy’s Tacos, who will deliver food to those in need.

[RELATED: Kings' Bogdan Bogdanovic shooting on neighbor's hoop during NBA shutdown]

“Sacramento is a huge part of my life and my career,” Bogdanovic told NBC Sports California when reached for comment. “We all said, ‘we have to give back to our community.’ We’re trying to help as much as we can. There are all of these people, most of who are fans, who are helping us during our games. Now it’s our time to help them”

The group has gone through local non-profits to find those in need and will have food delivered in the coming days. 

Listen and subscribe to the Purple Talk Podcast: