MANILA, Philippines, February 22 ------ Filipino basketball fans can rest easy amid rumors of Kai Sotto's status with the NBA G League. This after a source familiar with the situation confirmed to Philstar.com that the 7'3" Filipino prospect is still very much part of Team Ignite. "Kai's status with our program remains unchanged and he is still a member of Ignite," the source, who requested anonymity, told Philstar.com in an email Saturday.
Doubts on Sotto's future with the G League rose Saturday evening as rumors floated that the 18-year-old has been disallowed from entering the NBA G League bubble, or worse, dropped altogether by the development program. The Filipino big man is back in the US following a cancelled plan to represent Gilas Pilipinas in the third window of the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers. As for him entering the G League bubble in Orlando and getting to play with Ignite that will all depend on Sotto's situation in terms of the health and safety protocols.
An earlier report by Philstar.com's Alder Almo said that Sotto will need six negative tests for the coronavirus before being allowed to enter the Orlando bubble. However, the source said that "each situation is evaluated individually to take into account exact circumstances" and that the Ignite team is "still working through those protocols".
Sotto's camp, meanwhile, has reportedly not reached out yet to Ignite about if or when he wants to rejoin his squad in the Orlando bubble. The source said that Ignite has reached out to Sotto via different channels but has not heard any information yet on the player's plans. “If/when Kai is interested in rejoining us, we will begin working through any COVID protocols to get him back with the team,” they said. Sotto's earliest arrival date to the Orlando bubble, if he had communicated as soon as possible with Ignite, was February 23 (February 24, Manila time). However, if Sotto's camp has yet to make a move on letting the big man begin the process of the health and safety protocols required to enter the bubble, his G League debut may have to be moved to a later date.