Alfonzo McKinnie wasn’t on the bench when the Los Angeles Lakers played the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden on Monday night because of the NBA’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols, and while the initial fear with the NBA’s health and safety protocols is always that someone on the team tested positive for COVID-19, like Marc Gasol did earlier this season, that doesn’t seem to be the case with McKinnie.
According to a report from Dan Woike of the Los Angeles Times, McKinnie has been cleared to travel with the Lakers to Charlotte, where they’ll take on the Hornets on Tuesday night:
Alfonzo McKinnie has been cleared by doctors to travel with the Lakers to Charlotte, per a team spokesperson.— Dan Woike (@DanWoikeSports) April 13, 2021
McKinnie, who the Lakers acquired in a trade in the offseason, hasn’t been part of the Frank Vogel’s rotation for most of the season, but he’s seen his minutes increase over the last few games, and he’s made the most of the opportunities he’s been given. On Saturday against the Brooklyn Nets, McKinnie tallied 10 points — one shy of his season-high — 9 rebounds, 4 assists and a steal. His +17 plus-minus was tied for the third-highest on the team with Ben McLemore.
Vogel praised his all-around performance after Saturday’s game.
“Zo McKinnie did everything: offensive rebounds, low-man helps, knocking down some threes,” Vogel said.
McKinnie will almost surely go back to a reserve role when LeBron James and Anthony Davis return, but in the meantime, he’ll be given the chance to make the case for more minutes or, at the very least, consideration to move up in the pecking order.
A further update on McKinnie will likely be given before the Lakers and Hornets tip-off at 5 p.m. PT on Tuesday.