Charlotte Hornets center Kai Jones will not be joining the team in training camp next week due to “personal reasons,” the team announced Saturday.
The news comes weeks after a string of bizarre posts from Jones on social media that had some concerned about his wellbeing. There is reportedly no timetable for his return.
The full statement:
“The Charlotte Hornets announced today that forward/center Kai Jones will not participate in Training Camp due to personal reasons. There is not currently 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 comments regarding the matter at this time.”
The Hornets acquired Jones in 2021 via a draft-day trade with the New York Knicks, picking up the Texas big man with the 19th overall pick of the NBA Draft. He has struggled to carve out consistent playing time since then, even with the Hornets languishing with a 27-55 record last season.
Jones started attracting attention earlier this month when he went on Instagram Live visibly sweating and behaving erratically. He followed that up days later on X (formerly known as Twitter) in which he seemed to say he was a better player than Hornets star LaMelo Ball and 2023 No. 2 draft pick Brandon Miller, could beat prime Shaquille O’Neal and LeBron James 1-on-1 and has a better midrange game than minority Hornets owner Michael Jordan.
IM GOD 😍🐐🦋💕🔝☮️🕺🏾🛸🇧🇸🌈🥇
— Kai Jones (@242_jones) September 30, 2023
The Charlotte Observer’s Scott Fowler reported Tuesday that people in the Hornets organization were worried about Jones, who reportedly wasn’t participating in optional team drills. CBS Sports also notes that Jones’ Hornets teammates stopped following him after an Instagram Live session.
Obviously, there is a lot going on behind closed doors here, with Jones’ Hornets career possibly not being the biggest thing at stake. What happens from here is up to Jones.