Sacramento Kings guard Buddy Hield. (file photo)
By RENALDO DORSETT
Tribune Sports Reporter
Sacramento Kings guard Chavano “Buddy” Hield has tested positive for COVID-19.
The Athletic first reported Hield’s positive test late last night as the NBA began league-wide testing this week in preparation for its return to the court on July 30 to conclude the 2020 season.
Hield was the second Kings player to reportedly test positive, joining Jabari Parker. Several players have tested positive this week since mandated league-wide testing began, including Nikola Jokic (Denver Nuggets) and Malcolm Brogdon (Indiana Pacers).
AZ Central has reported that two Phoenix Suns players have tested positive and ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said one Western Conference team produced four positive tests - no player details have been revealed in either case. Hield said he feels fine and will continue to quarantine in Sacramento. He expects to join the Kings in Orlando to conclude the season once he is cleared to play.
Just over two weeks ago, Hield returned to the court on June 10 for competitive play for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic sidelined the NBA.
The Kings sharpshooter participated in the Skinz League Tournament at the Hive Sports Complex in Edmond, Oklahoma and scored 45 points, including 13 made three pointers.
The Kings will be one of 22 teams invited to the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida, when the NBA resumes on July 30.
Both Hield and Parker will have ample time to self isolate before they join the Kings in Orlando for training camp on July 11.
The “Orlando Tournament” will feature the 16 teams currently in playoff position and eight teams currently within six games of 8th place in the two conferences.
All games will be hosted at the Walt Disney World Resort, where the players and staff will also live under strict NBA-mandated pandemic protocols.
Teams will officially begin training at team sites in July and will advance to full training camps in Orlando prior to regular season play.
The Kings are 28-36, No.10 in the Western Conference and 3.5 games behind the No.8 Memphis Grizzlies (32-33).
The NBA has suspended its season since March 11 when Utah Jazz centre Rudy Gobert was the league’s first player to test positive for COVID-19.
Through 64 games this season, Hield is averaging 19.8 points per game and is shooting 40 per cent from beyond the arc, making 3.8 three-point field goals in about 10 attempts per game. Hield also added 4.8 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game.