Kai Jones’ immediate status with the Charlotte Hornets is a bit murky.
Jones hasn’t participated in any of the players’ optional sessions and it’s unclear if he’ll be among the Hornets’ contingent to hit the floor for the start of training camp next Tuesday. The third-year big man has made some very curious social media posts during the past few weeks, including a couple where called out some of his teammates.
In a Twitter post, Jones said he’s better than Shaquille O’Neal and LeBron James and refused to back down from the comment. There’s also an Instagram video where Jones is sweating profusely and it is hard to make out what he’s saying. The video went viral and has been viewed more than 16 million times.
Speaking at a preseason media luncheon on Tuesday, Hornets coach Steve Clifford refused to answer a question regarding Jones’ curious behavior over the past few weeks.
“We are aware of the social media posts and it’s a situation that’s been handled internally,” Clifford said. He declined further comment.
So two years after the Hornets traded back into the first round for Jones, acquiring his draft rights from the New York Knicks, his career has already reached a critical juncture. This was supposed to be a big offseason for Jones’ development, which is why the Hornets had him participate in summer league action again.
In 67 games through two seasons, Jones averaged just 2.7 points and two rebounds and never showed consistency when he did get significant playing time. And even though he was in a pressurized situation during the summer, Jones insisted he was fine mentally.
“I’m having the most fun ever,” Jones told the Observer at summer league. “I’m enjoying it so much. I enjoy waking up and hooping every day. That’s what I love to do. I did it in the spring leading up to this, took a little break, came back and started working out every day, every day. “That’s just what I love to do. So, I’m just hooping and trying to get the ‘W.’ That’s my life. I’ve always been doing that. I love basketball.”
But now, exactly when — or if — he’ll get the chance to get on the court with the Hornets again remains to be seen.