The Kings are officially out of self-isolation in Orlando and practicing in preparation for the restart of the NBA season.
The team is not fully together yet, as coach Luke Walton confirmed that four members of the traveling party did not make the trip and have yet not cleared NBA health and safety protocol to join the team at Disney World. Although Walton acknowledged the possibility that these individuals will be unable to come to Orlando at any point, the expectation is that they will come later.
Walton did not name the people who were still in Sacramento, but Buddy Hield, Alex Len, and Jabari Parker are suspected to be among that group, given that all three players tested positive for the coronavirus back in June. None of the three have been pictured in the NBA’s footage of players arriving in Orlando, nor were they in the images of the team’s practice on Friday. Jason Anderson of the Sacramento Bee confirmed that Hield was among those absent due to his recent social media postings.
The team’s first practice was entirely non-contact, per Walton, as the Kings lean on their sports science staff to ease players back in and prevent injuries. The goal was to get the players comfortable being on a court again — recall that the league shipped team’s home courts to Orlando to create practice settings within the Disney conference rooms — and have the Kings run 5-on-0 sets before introducing some contact on Saturday.
Both Richaun Holmes and Bogdan Bogdanovic said it was nice to get back on the court with their teammates and that they’ve been pretty comfortable in their new set-ups in Orlando, despite some contrary reports from other players. Bogdanovic says he feels like an All-Star with the way he’s been treated, and Holmes was similarly complimentary of the accommodations.
The Sacramento Kings’ Richaun Holmes during a Zoom session from the bubble today: “I’ve seen complaints about the food, I’ve been good down here. I would just say, thank y’all for the food”— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) July 11, 2020
One thing that hasn’t been satisfactory in the bubble? Coffee. That’s why Walton is pleased that he made the decision to bring an entire carry-on’s worth of coffee for the trip, including his French press. The Sacramento head coach also took full advantage of the league’s relaxed dress code during the restart, only packing polos for game days.
Hopefully, the Kings full roster is available for when those game days arrive, because the clock is ticking until seeding game no. 1 against San Antonio. We wish all the best to Buddy, Alex, and Jabari in their recoveries.