On Wednesday afternoon, three Sacramento Kings players were diagnosed with COVID-19. What does this mean for the basketball side of things?
The news surrounding the Sacramento Kings kept pouring in on Wednesday evening as reports stated that three different players have been diagnosed with COVID-19.
Throughout the afternoon, trusted sources had hinted that a slew of positive tests for Kings players were on the way. An initial report stated that four members of the team had tested positive, causing a panic wave over local social media feeds.
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By the end of the evening, it had been confirmed that Buddy Hield, Alex Len, and Jabari Parker had all contracted the virus. In statements from the players themselves and reports from news sources, it was said that the affected team members will self-quarantine for a 14-day period before being re-evaluated for a return to play.
So what does it all mean for the Sacramento Kings?
Of course, the initial thoughts are about the well-being of the affected players and their immediate families. While Hield, Len, and Parker are a part of one of the most physically healthy group of people on the planet, their family members are not. The primary concern is keeping everyone as healthy as possible.
But there comes a point when we have to think about the basketball ramifications of the positive test results. The league is scheduled to restart at a central site in Orlando, Florida around July 30th. Teams are scheduled to begin mini-training camps within the first two weeks of July and will travel to the “bubble” sometime around the middle of the month.
So, would entering a self-quarantine on June 24th put the players in a position to be ready to play competitively in about a month? Not only will their health and status of the disease be an issue, but so will the conditioning and stamina that it takes to participate in a professional basketball game. While we are unsure how symptomatic each player is, there is the possibility of the lungs and respiratory systems becoming affected.
How would the regular rotations be affected should any of the diagnosed players miss any live action? It seems as though the Kings organization was a day ahead of the media, as reports of their signing of Corey Brewer being an insurance policy should any wing player be absent. With the rosters for the restart being expanded, there could be other moves made as well. There are a handful of solid role players and veterans on the free agent market, which Sacramento could dip in to should they have to fill a need.
It would be easy to panic at this point and assume that the NBA season will be outright canceled given the vast amount of positive test announcements over the last week. But it seems as though this is all a part of the plan. The NBA began their league-wide testing procedure over the last few days, and surely anticipated a large uptick in the amount of positive results.
This is why they are beginning the testing now, to allow the affected players ample time to quarantine and rid themselves of the illness.
That is not to say that the situation is not fluid. The “bubble” that the players will be checking in to during July is just that: a bubble. Floating with all of the fragility in the world, one small prick could pop the bubble and send everyone home, canceling the season for good.
Which is probably what they should do either way.