NBA G League source: Kai Sotto's Ignite stint now uncertain after Gilas commitment
Kai Sotto
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NBA G League source: Kai Sotto's Ignite stint now uncertain after Gilas commitment

Alder Almo (Philstar.com) - January 21, 2021 - 4:04pm

MANILA, Philippines – Kai Sotto’s NBA dream has to wait after answering the call to represent the country in the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers.

Sotto earlier announced that he is set to make his debut for the Gilipas Pilipinas men’s national team in the third window.

The 7-foot-3 Filipino prospect will thus add ceiling to an undersized Gilas team trying to improve its 3-0 card and protect its home court.

Gilas is scheduled to host Korea (February 18 and February 22) and Indonesia (February 20) at Clark City in Pampanga.

A G League source told Philstar.com that Sotto’s decision leaves him with a little chance to rejoin Ignite in the Orlando bubble.

“Unfortunately, this very likely means Kai will miss our single-site competition in Orlando due to health and safety protocols, as a quarantine period would be required after his international return,” the source told Philstar.com.

“Depending on what the official dates of the competition are, there is a very small window [Kai] could potentially join [Ignite] if he desired and if Ignite was to make the playoffs,” the source added.

The G League’s truncated season schedule has yet to be released, but all the 18 teams committed to playing, including Ignite, are required to enter the bubble on January 26.

The elimination games will tip off on February 8, with the playoffs from March 5-9.

The NBA earlier used a four-day quarantine period for players entering the Orlando bubble and a 14-day isolation period for players testing positive for COVID-19. A player has to receive two negative tests 24 hours apart before rejoining their team.

The G League will likely follow the same protocols.

The earliest Sotto can rejoin Ignite is towards the end of February or the last week of eliminations if he clears the health and safety protocols.

The 18-year-old Sotto will miss the opportunity to be scouted in an NBA-level environment.

The 17 NBA teams sending affiliates to the G League Orlando bubble are the LA Clippers, San Antonio, Cleveland, Philadelphia, New Orleans, Indiana, Charlotte, Minnesota, Orlando, Brooklyn, Memphis, Oklahoma City, Toronto, Houston, Utah, Golden State and New York.

The NBA has pushed for a G League season to showcase Ignite, the inaugural pro pathway program.

With the US NCAA already underway, the draft prospects who opted for G League over a one-and-done college season are already behind in terms of exposure.

Sotto had been training with NBA Lottery prospects Jalen Green and Jonathan Kuminga, alongside other draft prospects Isaiah Todd, Daishen Nix, and fellow international talent Princepal Singh of India since August under the guidance of five-time NBA champion Brian Shaw in Walnut Creek, California.

Sotto underwhelmed in Ignite’s four scrimmages, which featured guard-heavy plays.

Green and Kuminga lived up to the hype and showcased their talents in those scrimmages.

Most mock drafts project them to go inside the top five in the next NBA Draft.

Sotto has yet to break into any of the mock drafts of major sports publications in the US.

NBA and NBA G League veterans Amir Johnson, Reggie Hearn, Brandon Ashley, Cody Demps and Bobby Brown round up the Ignite roster, who are expected to provide a veteran presence for the young prospects.

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