Alex Len

COVID-19 Roundup: Raptors, Kings, Thunder, Knicks

The hits keep coming for the NBA. While some good news has arrived regarding the health status of a handful of players, several more have been sidelined in the league’s coronavirus protocols. Here are the newest developments concerning which players have entered or exited the health and safety protocols:

  • Raptors big man Precious Achiuwa and point guard Malachi Flynn have exited the NBA’s coronavirus health and safety protocols, tweets Josh Lewenberg of TSN. Lewenberg notes that power forward Pascal Siakam and wing Gary Trent Jr., who cleared protocols yesterday, have been listed as probable ahead of Toronto’s game against the Sixers this evening. Center Khem Birch, who also cleared protocols yesterday, remains questionable to play, as do Achiuwa and Flynn. Following this news, the total sum of Raptors players still in the league’s COVID-19 protocols has fallen to five.
  • Kings center Alex Len has exited the NBA’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols, per James Ham of ESPN 1320 (via Twitter). Because the 7-footer has not played a game since December 15, Ham notes that Len remains questionable to play tonight against the Thunder.
  • Thunder center Derrick Favors is now in the league’s coronavirus protocols, reports Jason Anderson of the Sacramento Bee. Favors is the sixth Oklahoma City player currently in COVID-19 protocols. Head coach Mark Daigneault also entered the protocols today.
  • The Knicks have announced (Twitter link) that little-used guard Wayne Selden has entered the NBA’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols. The 6’5″ veteran wing has not been a rotation this season for New York, having suited up for just three games thus far.
  • Keep tabs on all the NBA’s current coronavirus absences via our daily tracker.

COVID Updates: Wiggins, Poole, Len, Payton, Rogers, Tolliver, Wright

Here are the latest developments regarding players entering or exiting the league’s health and safety protocols:

  • Andrew Wiggins has cleared the protocols, Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area tweets. The Warriors forward practiced on Monday and is probable to play on Tuesday against Denver, Kendra Andrews of NBC Sports Bay Area tweets. Wiggins entered protocols on December 19.
  • Guard Jordan Poole has also cleared the protocols, Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets. He’ll return to the Warriors’ facility on Tuesday but won’t play as the team needs to assess his conditioning, Anthony Slater of The Athletic tweets.
  • Kings center Alex Len is listed as questionable to play on Tuesday, which indicates he’s cleared the protocols, James Ham of The Kings Beat tweets.
  • Suns guard Elfrid Payton returned to action on Monday after clearing the protocols, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski tweets. Payton had just entered the protocols on Sunday, so apparently he had a false positive.
  • We noted earlier on Monday that Blazers coach Chauncey Billups has entered the protocols. Assistant coach Roy Rogers is also in the protocols, Aaron Fentress of The Oregonian tweets.
  • Anthony Tolliver‘s 10-day contract with the Pelicans has been voided after he tested positive for COVID-19, Will Guillory of The Athletic tweets. Tolliver was signed on Sunday.
  • Moses Wright, who has been playing on a 10-day contract with the Clippers, has also entered the protocols, Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN tweets.

De’Aaron Fox, Two Other Kings Enter Protocols

DECEMBER 17: Kings center Alex Len and two-way forward Louis King were also placed in the health and safety protocols on Thursday evening, as ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski tweets. The team now has five players in the protocols.


DECEMBER 16: The Kings’ top player, guard De’Aaron Fox, has entered health and safety protocols, Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets.

As we noted earlier, the Kings canceled practice on Thursday and closed their practice facility due to concerns about a COVID-19 outbreak. There is an expectation more positive tests will be revealed among both players and staff members.

Head coach Alvin Gentry, forward Marvin Bagley III, and guard Terence Davis all entered the protocols on Wednesday with indications both Gentry and Bagley have tested positive for COVID-19.

Fox is averaging 21.3 PPG and 5.0 APG this season. He scored 28 points against the Wizards on Wednesday when the Kings snapped a three-game losing streak and 29 against the Raptors on Monday.

As Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press tweets, approximately 7% of the league’s players are now under protocols.

There’s some concern that the team’s game vs. Memphis on Friday could be in jeopardy.

California Notes: Kings, Carmelo, Lakers

The Kings have had a relatively quiet 2021 offseason thus far, Zach Harper of The Athletic observes in a thorough recap of Sacramento’s transactions across every position. Sacramento shored up their big man depth behind Richaun Holmes, whom they re-signed to a reasonable four-year, $46.5MM deal. Sacramento also added Tristan Thompson via trade and brought back old friend Alex Len on a two-year agreement.

Harper notes that the Kings appear to have also improved on the lead guard front, having drafted Summer League co-MVP Davion Mitchell with the ninth selection out of Baylor. However, Harper opines that, thanks to the strength of several clubs at the top of the Western Conference, the Kings will be once again struggling to make the play-in tournament for the 2022 postseason.

Another item of interest is the long-term future of maximum-salaried Kings point guard De’Aaron Fox with the team, in the wake of 2021 All-Rookie first team guard Tyrese Haliburton and now Mitchell both flashing significant promise.

There’s more out of California:

  • New Lakers forward Carmelo Anthony, a 10-time All-Star, reflected on his first official workout for Los Angeles, held at the UCLA Health Training Center. “That purple and gold is different, it always has been and it always will be,” Anthony said, per Spectrum SportsNet (Twitter video link). “I’m just happy to be a part of it. I wish my fans could see me here working, but just know that I’m in here working.” Anthony, 37, proved his mettle as a valuable offensive role player for two playoff-bound Trail Blazers teams during the 2019/20 and 2020/21 seasons. Last year, Anthony averaged 13.4 PPG, 3.1 RPG, and 1.5 APG, while posting a solid shooting line of .421/.409/.890.
  • The veteran-heavy Lakers added a lot of familiar faces, including five who have played for the team before. Dave McMenamin of ESPN details how the five once-and-future Lakers made their way back to Los Angeles, and what the team and fans should reasonably anticipate from their on-court output. Three of those former Lakers have won titles with the club. Point guard Rajon Rondo (previously with the Lakers from 2018-20) and center Dwight Howard (a Laker for the 2012/13 and the 2019/20 seasons) were both members of a championship-winning 2019/20 L.A. squad. Forward Trevor Ariza was a key two-way player for the 2008/09 champions.
  • In case you missed it, former NBA point guard Darren Collison scrimmaged with the Warriors this week ahead of a potential comeback. Collison, a California native, was most recently the starting point guard for a playoff-bound Pacers club during the 2018/19 season.

Kings Ink Alex Len To Two-Year Contract

AUGUST 13: The Kings have announced the signing in a press release.

“It is great to welcome Alex back to the Kings,” GM Monte McNair said. “Alex will add toughness, competitiveness and experience while securing our front line depth.” 


AUGUST 2: The Kings are set to sign journeyman free agent center Alex Len to a two-season contract, per Shams Charania of The Athletic (via Twitter). The two-year deal will be worth $7.65MM, tweets Michael Scotto of HoopsHype.

This will be Len’s second stint with Sacramento. He previously played on the Kings for a portion of the 2019/20 NBA season.

The fifth overall selection out of Maryland in 2013 by the Suns, Len also logged time with the Hawks. Atlanta eventually traded Len for his first tour of duty with the Kings.

Len, 28, most recently suited up for the Wizards for the majority of the 2020/21 season. After initially inking a one-year, $2.32MM deal with the Raptors in the 2020 offseason, Len fell out of the Toronto rotation quickly. The Raptors eventually waived Len. After clearing waivers, he then signed on with the Wizards for the rest of the season.

The seven-footer was able to carve out more rotation minutes at his next NBA stop, operating as a solid contributor to a playoff-bound club with Washington. For the balance of the 2020/21 season, Len averaged 6.6 PPG, 4.1 RPG, and 1.0 BPG across 15.3 MPG in 64 games, including 42 starts.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Free Agent Stock Watch: Eastern Conference

Throughout the season, Hoops Rumors takes a closer look at players who will be free agents or could become free agents this offseason. We examine if their stock is rising or falling due to performance and other factors. With the playoffs in full swing, we take a look at players from the Eastern Conference:

Elfrid Payton, Knicks, 27, PG (Down) – Signed to a one-year, $4.77MM deal in 2020

Payton’s postseason role was reduced to something rarely seen in any sport – the starting lineup cameo. He played a few ineffective minutes, then never returned to the court for two games until coach Tom Thibodeau completely gave up on him. Payton started regularly all season but his post-All-Star break woes drove Knicks fans nuts. They won’t have to worry about a repeat – Payton will be an unrestricted free agent. Payton has been a starter throughout his career but it’s hard to imagine him getting much more than the veteran’s minimum to fill out someone’s bench next season.

Evan Fournier, Celtics, 28, SF (Down) – Signed to a five-year, $85MM deal in 2016

Fournier was the biggest acquisition the Celtics made at the trade deadline and they leaned on him heavily against the Nets with Jaylen Brown sidelined. Fournier averaged 15.4 PPG on 43.3% shooting from 3-point range in 33.4 MPG. Solid numbers, but he’s not the type of player who can carry a team. Fournier is expected to seek a contract similar to the one he signed with the Magic five seasons ago but is he really a $17MM a year player? There’s a general sense that Fournier may have to settle for the mid-level exception or something slightly above that figure.

Duncan Robinson, Heat, 27, SF (Up) – Signed to a three-year, $3MM deal in 2018

Robinson pumped in 24 points in Game 1 against the Bucks, then petered out the rest of the series. That won’t hurt him in restricted free agency. The Heat have to make a lot of tough decisions this offseason – one of them will be how big an offer sheet they’d be willing to match to retain Robinson. First, they’ll have to extend a $4.7MM qualifying offer but that’s a formality. During last season’s playoff run to the Finals, Robinson averaged 11.7 PPG. He’s a career 42.3% 3-point shooter and he’ll be looking for a big payday after playing on a rookie contract.

Alex Len, Wizards, 27, C (Down) – Signed to a one-year, $1.7MM deal in 2020

Len has passed through a handful of organizations over the past four seasons. He’ll be on the move again as an unrestricted free agent. Len received 40 regular-season starts from the injury-depleted Wizards after getting waived by the Raptors. His playing time shrunk throughout the first-round series against Philadelphia – he played a grand total of three minutes in the last two games. Whether or not Thomas Bryant can effectively return from his knee injury next season, Washington needs to upgrade its frontcourt. It wouldn’t be a surprise if the Ukranian-born Len explores European options.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Wizards Notes: Len, Gafford, Neto, Brooks

After eight years in the NBA, Wizards center Alex Len is finally ready for his playoff debut, writes Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. Len has the longest active streak with no postseason appearances, and it’s a distinction that he’s eager to get rid of.

“The play-ins kind of felt like the playoffs,” he said. “Every possession counts. You could feel the intensity was way higher than the regular season. It’s just probably the most exciting part of my career.”

It didn’t look like Len was headed to the playoffs when he arrived in D.C. in January. The Wizards were far out of the race when they claimed him off waivers after he had been cut loose by the Raptors. He turned out to be a valuable addition in the wake of a season-ending injury to starting center Thomas Bryant.

“When I came here, it was probably at the bottom or the second-worst team in the East,” Len said. “Then, climbing all the way back and making the eighth seed, it was a lot of fun. We battled through and guys stuck together.”

There’s more on the Wizards:

  • Daniel Gafford is another member of Washington’s center rotation who is happy to be in the playoffs, Hughes writes in a separate story. Gafford spent his first season and a half with the Bulls before the Wizards acquired him at the trade deadline. “I was overwhelmed with a lot of emotion after (beating the Pacers in the play-in tournament),” he said. “I had to kind of just hold it in. … I would say this trade was the best thing that could have happened to me.”
  • Raul Neto is looking forward to facing his former team in a playoff setting, Hughes notes in another piece. Neto was a back-up point guard for the Sixers last season, and he believes that familiarity will be an asset for the Wizards. “I know every one of them; how they play, how they mentally approach the game,” he said. “So, I think I’m going to try to use that during the series and try to help my teammates if they need to know something else.”
  • Coach Scott Brooks found success with a three-guard starting lineup that he began using in late April. Fred Katz of The Athletic examines how that group will match up against a much larger Sixers team.

Southeast Notes: Bogdanovic, Gallinari, Len, Dragic

Hawks swingman Bogdan Bogdanovic has progressed his rehabilitation to include one-on-one play with contact, the team tweets. Bogdanovic hasn’t played since January 9 due to an avulsion fracture in his right knee. His next step will be reintegration into team practice. Bogdanovic was one of the premier acquisitions of the offseason, signing a four-year, $72MM offer sheet that the Kings declined to match.

We have more from the Southeast Division:

  • Another of the Hawks’ high-level acquisitions, Danilo Gallinari, is showing signs that he’s prepared to make a bigger impact. Gallinari’s 38-point eruption against Boston on Wednesday is more of what the team expected when Gallinari arrived in a sign-and-trade with the Thunder, as coach Lloyd Pierce told The Athletic’s Chris Kirschner“That’s Gallo. We know he’s capable. We know he can give us some more. We want him to give us more,” Pierce said.
  • Wizards center Alex Len has a strong bond with the team’s player development coach David Adkins and assistant Ryan Richman going back to his college days at Maryland. That was the biggest reason he signed with Washington after getting released by Toronto, Fred Katz of The Athletic writes. “I’m kind of like the brother and D.A. is kind of like the uncle/father type of guy in the relationship, I would say,” Richman said.
  • Goran Dragic has shown he can remain a rotation player beyond this season, so the Heat might be inclined to retain the veteran point guard this offseason at the right price, Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel speculates. Miami holds a $19.44MM option on Dragic’s contract for next season, which it will almost certainly decline. However, the front office could ask him to return for one of its smaller exceptions.

Southeast Notes: Butler, Bamba, Hawks, Len, Wizards

The Heat may not be without star swingman Jimmy Butler for much longer. According to Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald, the expectation is that Butler – who hasn’t played since January 9 – will clear the NBA’s health and safety protocols on Monday.

The Heat will be in action tonight in Brooklyn, but Butler will need a little more time to get his conditioning back up to speed and to pass a cardiac screening before he’s cleared to play in a game. Jackson says there’s optimism that Butler will be able to return later this week and that the same is true of Avery Bradley, who has also been in the league’s COVID-19 protocols for over two weeks.

Here’s more from around the Southeast:

  • The sixth overall pick in 2018, Magic center Mohamed Bamba has an underwhelming NBA résumé so far, but it’s unfair to label him a bust since injuries and a lack of playing time have prevented him from showing what he can do, contends Jonathan Tjarks of The Ringer. The 22-year-old has been limited to 33 total minutes across four games so far this season.
  • In an official press release, the Hawks shared details on their plan to begin allowing fans into their home games at State Farm Arena. The club will initially only fill the arena to about eight percent of its capacity.
  • Alex Len was an ideal addition for the Wizards, who needed to fill a hole in their frontcourt and didn’t want to give up anything to do so, says Fred Katz of The Athletic. As Katz notes, the veteran big man was able to assume a rotation role immediately and looked comfortable in his first game with the team on Sunday.
  • While the Wizards were back in action for the first time in nearly two weeks on Sunday, it’ll be a little while longer before things are “back to normal” for the team, writes Ava Wallace of The Washington Post.

Atlantic Notes: Irving, Jersey Swaps, Sixers, Len

It hasn’t been a smooth transition since the Nets formed their Big Three, but Kyrie Irving remains confident that the group will eventually work, writes Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Brooklyn is 3-2 since James Harden joined the team, including a pair of losses this week in Cleveland.

“Don’t trip. It’s a long journey,” Irving posted on Instagram. “We will be on that stage. The stage where the best of the best meet. … You know. The main stage. Where those who can, do. And those who cannot talk about those that are doing. If you rolling with us, great. Let’s rock. If you’re not, you know you wanna talk about our greatness anyway.”

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • As promised, the NBA is cracking down on post-game interactions between players to minimize COVID-19 risks, notes Liz Roscher of Yahoo. Irving and Miami’s Bam Adebayo were interrupted by a security guard Saturday night as they attempted to exchange jerseys. “I’ll give Kyrie the jersey on my own time,” Adebayo told reporters.
  • Sixers stars Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons are committed to getting the most out of their partnership, according to Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. They are interacting more off the court and trying to mesh their talents together on a Philadelphia team that has the East’s best record at 12-5. “We both see different things, so now for me and Jo, I think the relationship continues to grow,” Simmons said. “We talk a lot more now in terms of being on the floor and certain things we say. Knowing where he wants the ball, all the sets, and just flying, getting into the flow of the game, and just trying to read it the right way.”
  • After waiving Alex Len on Tuesday, the Raptors have a financial incentive to hope he stays with the Wizards, tweets Bobby Marks of ESPN. If Len remains on Washington’s roster past February 24, which is the last day to release players before their contracts become fully guaranteed, Toronto will receive a $126,029 offset on his $2.258M salary, which is still on the Raptors’ books.