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Buddy Hield among multiple Sacramento Kings to contract coronavirus - reports

Thursday 25 June 2020 06:44, UK

Buddy Hield
Image: Buddy Hield is reportedly one of a number of Sacramento Kings to test positive for coronavirus

Sacramento Kings forward Jabari Parker and center Alex Len have revealed they have tested positive for coronavirus, while The Athletic has reported that Kings guard Buddy Hield has also contracted the virus.

The news comes a day after the NBA began phase two of its return-to-play plan, during which time players are required to be tested for coronavirus. CBS Sacramento's Sara Hodges reported that at least four Kings tested positive.

Hield, the Kings' second-leading scorer at 19.8 points per game, played in 82 games last season and did not miss a match during this campaign prior to the league's shutdown due to the virus.

The 27-year-old is one of Sacramento's key players, having averaged 20.3 points and 41.1 per cent three-point shooting since the start of last season. He also won the NBA's three-point contest during All-Star weekend back in February.

Neither the team nor Hield confirmed the report. Hield was seen on video earlier this month playing in an adult league in Oklahoma with a gym full of fans.

Hield's team-mate Parker did release a statement, saying: "Several days ago I tested positive for COVID-19 and immediately self-isolated in Chicago which is where I remain. I am progressing in my recovery and feeling well.

Jabari Parker
Image: Jabari Parker is self-isolating in Chicago after his positive test

"I look forward to joining my team-mates in Orlando as we return to the court for the resumption of the NBA season."

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Len later wrote on Instagram: "I underwent testing (Tuesday) in Sacramento and was found to be positive for COVID-19. I want to thank the Sacramento Kings for their great care and the NBA for putting the protocols in place to allow me to catch this early.

"I have immediately entered isolation and look forward to being cleared and rejoining my team-mates for our playoff push."

The Kings acquired Parker and Len from the Atlanta Hawks on February 6 in exchange for center Dewayne Dedmon and two second-round draft picks.

Parker, 25, is with his fifth team in the past three seasons. Earlier this season, he played 32 games for the Hawks, making 23 starts and averaging 15 points and six rebounds.

Alex Len
Image: Alex Len is also in self-isolation ahead of the NBA's restart

Parker has appeared in just one game for his new team, finishing with four points and four rebounds against the Grizzlies on February 20. He sat out Sacramento's last nine games before the NBA season was suspended because of the pandemic.

Len, 27, has averaged 6.6 points and 7.1 rebounds through nine games with the Kings. He contributed 8.7 points and 5.8 boards per contest in 40 games (nine starts) for Atlanta this season.

The Kings are among the six NBA teams currently outside of a playoff position who will join the 16 currently in postseason positions when the league assembles in early July near Orlando.

The 22 invited teams will each play eight regular-season games ahead of the postseason, which could include play-in games for the last spot in each conference depending upon how close the ninth-place teams are.