CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Don’t expect to see Kai Jones around the Charlotte Hornets for at least the next week. And it could be even longer than that.
The Hornets on Saturday announced the third-year forward/center won’t be at training camp when it begins on Tuesday. The decision comes after coach Steve Clifford, speaking at the team’s annual media luncheon on last Tuesday, refused to answer a question regarding Jones’ curious behavior over the past few weeks.
“Kai Jones will not participate in training camp due to personal reasons,” the statement read. “There is currently not a timetable for his return to the team. Out of respect for the personal nature of the situation, the Hornets will not have any additional public comment regarding the matter at this time.”
Jones has made some eye-opening social media posts recently, openly criticizing some of his teammates, and saying he’s better than stars such as LeBron James and Shaquille O’Neal. In one Instagram video that went viral and has been viewed more than 16 million times, Jones appears to be sweating profusely and it’s difficult to comprehend exactly what he’s saying.
All of this comes as the Hornets began ramping up preparations for the 2023-24 season. Jones has been conspicuously absent from the team’s sessions. Clifford said Jones didn’t participate in any of the players’ optional workouts, which could be considered a head-scratcher given Jones’ being buried on Charlotte’s big man depth chart.
It’s unclear what the future holds for Jones, who’s averaged 2.7 points and two rebounds in 67 career games, often displaying inconsistency. He has tantalizing talent, but still needs to harness and fine-tune it. The chances of that now happening in a Hornets uniform could be dwindling by the day.
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