Alex Len, who inked a two-year deal with Hawks back in 2018, was traded to the Kings at this year’s deadline. Prior to getting dealt, Len expressed his interest in re-signing with Atlanta, telling Chris Kirschner of The Athletic this week that he cherished his time with the club.
“One-hundred percent — I wanted to stay,” Len told Kirschner. “I like the coaching staff. I liked my teammates. Everyone was cool. It really had a family feel to it. Last year, you could see the trajectory was going up…This season didn’t work out as planned, so they had to make changes. It’s a business, so I understood they had to do it.”
In the trade with the Kings, which also sent Jabari Parker to Sacramento, the Hawks received a pair of second-round picks and Dewayne Dedmon, who had left the team in free agency prior to the season. That, coupled with the team bringing in Clint Capela, left Len puzzled as to why Atlanta would trade him for another center.
“They didn’t want to pay [Dedmon] in the first place, so it didn’t make sense to me,” Len said. “If they wanted him, they could have just paid him. So they get him as a backup now and end up paying him anyway.”
Len admitted that he didn’t know what to expect when he was on his way to Sacramento. He called the experience of playing with the Kings this season a “pleasant surprise,” while adding that dynamics of the two franchises were different.
“There was a whole different mood and vibe around the team because we were going for the eighth spot,” Len said. “When I was (in Atlanta), it’s tough to play knowing you’re not making the playoffs. You go into the game, and guys are thinking about their points and themselves. (In Sacramento), it’s all about team and winning. Guys don’t care how many points they score; it’s all about winning. Everybody was playing a lot harder. We were playing all five guys on a string. It makes your job easier because everybody else is a lot better.”