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Where do the Kings fit into the NBA’s plans?

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The NBA is preparing to make its return, and the Sacramento Kings don’t know if they’ll be part of it.

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Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images

It’s been almost three months since the Sacramento Kings played their last game and we still don’t know exactly if or when they’ll play again, but for the first time since this all started, we have an idea of when and where the NBA’s season will resume.

On Saturday, NBA spokesperson Mike Bass released a statement via Ramona Shelburne of ESPN, which stated that the league was having “exploratory conversations” with the Walt Disney Corporation about finishing their season at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, some time in late July. While nothing is set in stone yet, these rumors have been floating around long enough for one to believe it’s going to happen.

What remains unclear is which teams are going to play when the season inevitably returns, and what they’re going to be playing for — specifically, we don’t know where the Kings fit into the NBA’s plans.

Photo by Sam Forencich/NBAE via Getty Images

With 64 games in the books, the Kings are 28-36, which slots them at the No. 11 seed in the Western Conference. If the season restarts with the playoffs, the Kings obviously won’t be involved. Additionally, if the NBA puts a 70-game cap on the regular season, the Kings wouldn’t realistically be able to contend for the No. 8 seed because even if they won all six of their games, the Memphis Grizzlies would advance with a 2-4 record, or better.

The most enticing options from the Kings’ perspective are the ones that involve some sort of play-in tournament, and luckily for them, the league is reportedly giving serious thought to that idea.

On Saturday, Shams Charania of The Athletic reported that the NBA has discussed the possibility of a play-in tournament for the seventh and eighth seeds. Shortly after that, Bill Simmons said that he heard something similar, and that the bottom-three teams in each conference wouldn’t be involved.

Now, this is all just scuttlebutt until proven otherwise, but the general consensus seems to be that not all 30 teams will finish the season. Whether or not that’s good news for the Kings will be dependent on how many teams the NBA plans to bring to Orlando.

Until we know more, Kings fans should be actively rooting for a play-in scenario, because it’s probably the only way that Sacramento will play in the postseason, something they haven’t done since 2006. That, or a conclusion to the 82-games regular season, which is less likely, but it would give the Kings a fair shot to make the postseason.

The point is: the Kings should be given a chance to show that improvement they showed before the season was suspended wasn’t just a fluke. Let’s hope they get it.