Alex Len

Pacific Notes: Giles, Len, Lakers, Clippers, Bazemore

Kings big man Harry Giles III recorded his first double-double on Saturday, helping his team pull off an improbable 112-103 victory over the Clippers at Staples Center.

Giles posted 14 points and 12 rebounds in 31 minutes, proving his worth on both ends of the floor as starting center. He started the 2019/20 season with very limited playing time, but his recent surge has caught the attention of Sacramento’s coaches.

“He’s moving much better now,” head coach Luke Walton said, as relayed by Jason Anderson of the Sacramento Bee. “He’s out there calling coverages. He’s out there at the level, backing up, rebounding the ball. He’s doing all the things that we love about Harry. He looks like, physically, he’s in the best place I’ve seen him since I’ve been the coach here, and his skill set, as far as his passing and rebounding and toughness, that’s something we need.”

Giles has an injury-riddled history, particularly with his knees, but it hasn’t stopped the 21-year-old from continuing to persevere and improve. Instead, it’s motivated him to play better.

“I think with time and reps I’m going to get better,” Giles said. “I’m going to keep getting better. You know how the fouls go. It varies depending on how you’re going to play and depending on how the refs are going to let you play, too, so I’m going to keep getting better at that and just playing hard.”

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • Luke Walton also spoke highly of Alex Len, who made his debut with the Kings on Saturday and recorded eight rebounds in 16 minutes. “It was nice to have a big body out there like that,” Walton said, according to Jason Jones of The Athletic (Twitter link). “He did a good job of clogging up that paint. We’ve got to get him a little more familiar with what we’re doing so we can open up the playbook, but he knows some of the basic sets and he helped us win.”
  • The Lakers and Clippers are set to play their rescheduled game on April 9 at Staples Center, forcing the Lakers to play three consecutive home games from April 7-9, Dave McMenamin of ESPN writes. The game was originally scheduled to be played on January 28 but was later postponed due to the tragic death of Kobe Bryant.
  • The union of Kent Bazemore and the Kings has been a perfect fit for both sides, Jason Jones writes in a different story for The Athletic. Sacramento traded for Bazemore last month, acquiring a proven two-way player at the wing position.“Sometimes fresh blood does help,” Bazemore said. “I hadn’t been having the best year, so it was kind of a match made in heaven. A guy coming over desperate and team in a desperate situation. We’re kind of making it work right now.”

Alex Len To Debut For Kings Tonight

Kings coach Luke Walton said today that new center Alex Len, part of the trade that shipped an unhappy Dewayne Dedmon out of town, will suit up for the first time with his new team tonight, per Sean Cunningham of ABC10 Sacramento (Twitter link).

Len, who had been recovering from a hip flexor injury, is expected to play in small 3-4 minute stints at time today, and just 10-12 minutes overall, according to James Ham of NBC Sports Bay Area (Twitter link).

After being taken with the No. 5 overall pick by the Suns in 2013, the Ukranian-born Len has proved to be a solid if underwhelming role player in Phoenix and, since 2018, Atlanta. He has started in just 180 of his 452 NBA games played. He will serve as a big body to shore up the injury-depleted Kings’ frontcourt, providing support for current starting Kings center Harry Giles.

Len will be an unrestricted free agent this summer after signing a two-year, $8.5MM contract with the Hawks in 2018. This season, the 250-pound seven-footer holds averages of 8.7 PPG, 5.8 RPG, and 0.8 BPG in just 18.6 minutes a night.

Kings Notes: Bagley, Dedmon, Parker, Bazemore

Marvin Bagley‘s status for the rest of the season remains uncertain as he recovers from a sprained left foot, writes James Ham of NBC Sports Bay Area. The second-year forward has barely played since suffering the injury December 26, and the Kings announced last week that he will be re-examined after the All-Star break.

Bagley was wearing a walking boot as he visited the team in the locker room following last night’s game. He talked to the media for the first time since the injury, but wasn’t able to add much clarity to his situation.

“I’m definitely going to try to come back this year, but that’s too far ahead at this point,” Bagley said. “The most important thing for me right now is to make sure I’m healthy. Honestly, who knows, I’m just going one day at a time with this, I’m trying not to think too far ahead. I obviously want to play, I want to be out there. … I’ve only played however many games I’ve played this season over things I can’t control.”

There’s more from Sacramento:

  • General manager Vlade Divac admitted the Kings didn’t get what they hoped for from Dewayne Dedmon when they signed him to a three-year, $40MM contract in free agency, Ham relays in a separate story. Sacramento granted Dedmon’s trade request this week, sending him back to Atlanta. “Definitely disappointed for me, for the organization and I’m sure from Dedmon’s side that things didn’t work,” Divac said. “We had good intentions. He didn’t work out. We’re happy to move on and wish Dedmon all the best. Definitely, he wasn’t what we expected.”
  • The players the Kings received in the deal with the Hawks are both close to returning from injuries, Ham adds. Jabari Parker may play tomorrow after missing most of the past month with a shoulder impingement, while Alex Len is making progress in his recovery from a hip flexor. In a video posted by Sean Cunningham of KXTV, Parker said he wasn’t surprised to be traded. “I’ve always had a perspective I’m not employed by individual teams; I’m employed by the NBA,” he said.
  • The Kings began to turn their season around when they acquired Kent Bazemore from the Trail Blazers, observes Jason Jones of The Athletic. Bazemore has brought energy and attention to detail to the Sacramento defense. “He goes out there and does a lot of the dirty work,” De’Aaron Fox said. “… He does a lot of things for us, and the chemistry we’ve had since he’s been here has been great. It feels like we’ve been playing with him a lot longer than two weeks.”

Kings Trade Dewayne Dedmon To Hawks

FEBRUARY 6: Nearly 24 hours after it was agreed upon, the Kings and Hawks have officially announced their trade sending Dedmon and a pair of second-round picks to Atlanta in exchange for Parker and Len. Sacramento also confirmed that the team has released Eric Mika, as we relayed in a separate story.

FEBRUARY 5: Dewayne Dedmon will return to Atlanta, as the Kings have reached a deal to send their unhappy center to the Hawks, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.  Sacramento will receive Jabari Parker and Alex Len in return, while Atlanta will get a pair of second-round picks.

The two second-round selections aren’t Sacramento’s own picks, according to Sam Amick of The Athletic (Twitter link), who reports that the Hawks will receive Houston’s 2020 second-rounder and Miami’s 2021 second-rounder. The Kings had been owed seven extra second-round selections through the 2025 draft, so they’ll still have a surplus of picks going forward.

Because the Kings have a full roster, they’ll have to open a spot before the deal can be completed. One possibility is an early release for Eric Mika, who signed a 10-day contract on February 1.

Dedmon was the Hawks’ starting center for the past two seasons before joining the Kings in free agency last summer on a three-year, $41MM contract. Things quickly went south in Sacramento as he lost his starting job to Richaun Holmes. He became outspoken about his lack of playing time and was fined $50K in early January for making a public trade request. Dedmon averaged 5.1 points and 4.9 rebounds in 34 games with the Kings.

Sacramento adds Parker, who holds a $6.5MM player option for next season, along with Len, who has a $4.16MM expiring contract. Both are former top-five draft picks who are trying to revive their careers after disappointing starts.

Parker averaged 15.0 points and 6.0 rebounds in 32 games after signing with the Hawks as a free agent last summer. He was also traded at last year’s deadline, making the Kings his fourth team in the past two seasons. Len was averaging 8.7 PPG and 5.8 RPG through 40 games in his second season with Atlanta.

The deal didn’t catch Len by surprise, according to Chris Kirschner of The Athletic. (Twitter link). When asked before tonight’s game about the trade that will bring Clint Capela to Atlanta, Len responded, “We have what like 24 hours left (until the trade deadline)? It’s going to be really interesting because we have four bigs. Something is probably going to happen now.”

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Amick’s Latest: Rockets, Len, D-Lo, Bogdanovic, Pistons

The Rockets remain on the lookout for a center who can help the team fill the hole that will be created when Clint Capela is officially sent to Atlanta, writes Sam Amick of The Athletic. According to Kelly Iko of The Athletic (via Twitter), Houston is moving closer to a deal for a center and is in talks with a pair of Eastern Conference teams.

Both Amick and Iko indicate the Rockets have shown a willingness to take on some “bad” salary if it helps them acquire an asset or two.

Once the four-team trade involving Capela is officially complete, Houston will have limited flexibility to acquire a center or absorb an unwanted contract. However, until that point, the Rockets could try to fold a separate trade into that four-team deal, which would allow them to take back up to $12MM+ in additional salary (up to $5.8MM before reaching the tax line).

Alex Len is one potential fit for the Rockets, according to John Hollinger of The Athletic, who suggests that the Hawks would want at least a second-round pick for Len. Since Atlanta is already part of the Rockets’ four-team trade, this could be simpler than bringing a fifth club. But I wonder if the Hawks would want to get back the 2024 second-rounder they’re sending to the Rockets in addition to acquiring a separate second-rounder for Len.

Here’s more from Amick and Hollinger:

  • A source confirmed to Amick that the Knicks continue to pursue D’Angelo Russell, but said none of New York’s offers have been “even remotely appealing” to the Warriors.
  • Kings swingman Bogdan Bogdanovic is generating “serious” interest, but a source says the Kings are still happy to keep Bogdanovic and attempt to re-sign him in free agency, according to Amick. As of this afternoon, Sacramento wasn’t discussing a Kyle Kuzma deal with the Lakers, but many teams around the NBA have registered interest in Bogdanovic, including the Sixers and Hornets, Amick notes.
  • The Pistons are “open for business” and willing to discuss just about anyone, per Amick and Hollinger. However, a source with knowledge of the situation downplayed the idea that Derrick Rose will be moved before the deadline.
  • The Magic are unlikely to do anything too significant, but remain in the market for “good, young perimeter help,” says Hollinger.

Southeast Notes: Hachimura, Wagner, Len, Bertans

Wizards rookie forward Rui Hachimura is close to returning from the groin injury that he suffered on December 16, Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington relays. Hachimura required a surgical procedure after getting accidentally kicked by teammate, Isaac Bonga. He is officially listed as questionable to play on Saturday. “Rui has a great chance of coming back (tomorrow) night,” head coach Scott Brooks said. Hachimura will play no more than 20 minutes if he suits up on Saturday, The Athletic’s Fred Katz tweets.

We have more from the Southeast Division:

  • Second-year Wizards power forward Moritz Wagner is expected to return sometime next week from an ankle injury that has sidelined him since December 10, Hughes writes in another piece. Wagner and Hachimura were both selected to the Rising Stars game on Friday. “We already said we’re not going to pass the ball. It’s a two-man game only. A lot of Wizards buckets,” Wagner joked to Hughes.
  • Hawks center Alex Len, who was injured a week ago, will miss at least another 7-10 days, Sarah K. Spencer of the Atlanta Journal Constitution tweets. Len, an unrestricted free agent this summer, is dealing with a right hip flexor strain.
  • The Wizards could expect to get a first-round pick and another player if they deal forward Davis Bertans, according to Hughes. It’s unlikely any collection of second-round picks would get the deal done, Hughes adds. The sharpshooting forward has an expiring $7MM contract.

Southeast Notes: Len, Fultz, Isaac, Wizards

Although Alex Len has only made nine starts this season, he has been the Hawks‘ most effective center and is the one most often included in their end-of-game lineups. So when he heard the rumors last week linking Atlanta to Andre Drummond, he couldn’t help but wonder about his place on the roster, as Chris Kirschner of The Athletic details.

“I would never want to get traded because I love this team, and I want to be here,” Len said of his situation with the Hawks. “The NBA is a business though, and you just have to control what you can control. When I (heard the Drummond talks), I just said that all I can control is what I do on the court. All I can do is continue to work and focus on that.

Len will be an unrestricted free agent at season’s end, so whether or not the Hawks make a move for a center, there’s no guarantee he’ll be back on the roster in 2020/21. Still, he thinks he can have a role in Atlanta even if the team acquires Drummond or another big man.

“I do think I bring value off the bench, even if (the Hawks) bring in another great big. I can still come off the bench and do what I do,” Len said, according to Kirschner. “For the future, I think I’m a pretty good fit with the young guys. At the same time, it’s up to the team to decide what they want to do. But I love this coaching staff. I love these players. I see myself being here for a while, even if my role is to come off the bench. Whatever it is, I want to be here.”

Here’s more from around the Southeast:

  • After two turbulent years to begin his NBA career, former No. 1 pick Markelle Fultz has found a happy home in Orlando, writes Josh Robbins of The Athletic. Fultz is coming off perhaps his best game as a pro, a 25-point showing in a Monday win over Brooklyn. “The biggest thing is that I took the time to get healthy,” Fultz said of the strides he has made with the Magic. “I’m feeling very good. My body’s feeling good, and that’s the biggest thing. I just think that I took the time to make sure my shoulder was right, and everything with my body is right, and now I’m back to being me.”
  • The Magic will treat Jonathan Isaac‘s knee injury without surgery, a team official tells Robbins (Twitter link). The standout forward is expected to be sidelined until at least March, and perhaps for the rest of the season.
  • The Wizards‘ 2019/20 season will almost certainly end with a spot in the lottery, but it won’t be a lost year in D.C., according to David Aldridge of The Athletic, who says the organization is identifying some promising building blocks for the future.

Injury Updates: Kuzma, Nene, Crabbe, Hawks

After a report earlier this week indicated that Kyle Kuzma wouldn’t be healthy for the start of the Lakers‘ training camp, the team has confirmed as much, announcing in a press release that Kuzma is rehabbing a stress reaction in his left foot.

According to the Lakers, Kuzma hasn’t been cleared to practice and is scheduled to undergo an MRI next month when the team returns from its trip to China. The second of L.A.’s two international preseason games vs. Brooklyn takes place in Shenzhen on October 12, so Kuzma’s MRI presumably won’t happen until sometime after that contest.

The Lakers provided updates on a couple more players, announcing that rookie Talen Horton-Tucker is receiving treatment for a stress reaction in his right foot and will be a limited participant in camp. Camp invitee Jordan Caroline, meanwhile, is expected to miss 10-12 weeks after undergoing surgery on his left foot earlier this month.

Horton-Tucker has a guaranteed contract and his spot on the Lakers’ roster won’t be affected by his injury, but Caroline is on a non-guaranteed deal and figures to be waived in the coming days or weeks.

Here are a few more injury updates from around the NBA:

  • The Rockets announced today that Nene has re-aggravated a chronic adductor injury and won’t be able to participate in training camp, as David Aldridge of The Athletic relays (via Twitter). Based on the incentives in Nene’s deal, it’s unlikely he’ll play much this season anyway, but health problems would further reduce the likelihood of him seeing regular action.
  • The Hawks issued a series of injury updates on their players, including John Collins (hip strain), Kevin Huerter (knee pain), Alex Len (low back pain; left ankle sprain), and Allen Crabbe (right knee surgery). Collins, Huerter, and Chandler Parsons (load management) are expected to be somewhat limited in training camp, while Crabbe will likely miss all of camp and the preseason. Len’s status remains up in the air.
  • Keith Pompey of Philly.com takes a look at the work Sixers shooting guard Zhaire Smith has put in to get healthy after missing nearly his entire rookie season due to injury and illness.

Southeast Notes: Carter, Heat, Winslow, Len

Vince Carter wants to go into broadcasting once his playing days are finished and has no desire to become an NBA coach, he told Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic. One of the reasons he joined the Hawks is that he’ll be in the same city as the headquarters of TNT.

“I enjoy coaching the game, but I don’t want to be a coach,” Carter said. “I think this is another way you can coach the game, but to a different crowd. Everybody watches the game and wonder why do they do this? I can give the inside look as an NBA player on what they think about, what they’re talking about, what teams are trying to accomplish while you’re watching the game.”

The fact that NBA coaches can get fired even if they’re successful is another reason why Carter would rather be a broadcaster.

We have more from the Southeast Division:

  • The Heat are unlikely to trade for a star player during the upcoming season, though they could dump some salary to avoid the luxury tax, Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel opines. The current roster doesn’t look strong enough to justify a bold move for a big-time player. Instead, it’s more likely the plan to return to prominence will center around 2020 free agency, Winderman adds.
  • The Heat ought to experiment with Justise Winslow, and Josh Richardson in various situations and positions to find out how they fit into the long-term picture, Winderman argues in another mailbag post. They could look at Winslow anywhere from a backup point to an undersized power forward. They could also take a similar approach with Richardson, even though he’s already signed an extension, Winderman adds.
  • Hawks center Alex Len will play for Ukraine’s national team in the FIBA World Cup qualifying tournament in September, according to the Ukrainian Federation. The news was tweeted by Olesandr Proshuta. Len hasn’t played for his national team since he left for the United States to play college ball at Maryland in 2011, Proshuta notes.

Contract Details: Thomas, Harris, Len, Knicks

The three-year, minimum-salary deal that Khyri Thomas signed with the Pistons looks identical to the one fellow second-rounder Bruce Brown received from the club, as Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders details. Both contracts include two guaranteed seasons with a non-guaranteed third year.

In giving Thomas three years instead of two, the Pistons had to once again dip into the mid-level exception. The team has now used that exception to sign Thomas, Brown, and Glenn Robinson, pushing its total MLE commitments to about $5.75MM. That figure exceeds the amount of the taxpayer mid-level, meaning Detroit will now be hard-capped at $129.817MM for the rest of the 2018/19 league year.

Teams become hard-capped when they acquire a player via sign-and-trade, use their bi-annual exception, or use more than the taxpayer portion ($5.337MM) of the mid-level exception.

Here are several more contract- and salary-related updates from Pincus:

  • Joe Harris‘ fully guaranteed two-year deal with the Nets is worth exactly $16MM, but it’s worth more in the first year ($8.33MM) than the second ($7.67MM), per Pincus.
  • The Hawks used nearly their entire room exception ($4.449MM) on Alex Len‘s two-year contract, which starts at $4.35MM. Len will earn a little less in year two, for a total value of $8.51MM (link).
  • Noah Vonleh and Kadeem Allen both signed one-year, non-guaranteed contracts with the Knicks, according to Pincus. Vonleh will be owed a $100K guarantee if he remains under contract through September 25.
  • Monte Morris‘ three-year pact with the Nuggets was originally reported as a $4.8MM deal, but Pincus classifies it as a minimum-salary contract, worth about $4.6MM. Morris received two guaranteed years, with the third-year salary set to become guaranteed if he remains under contract through June 30, 2020.
  • The Rockets and Thunder dipped into their taxpayer mid-level exceptions for rookie deals for Isaiah Hartenstein and Hamidou Diallo, respectively. Both are three-year, minimum-salary contracts, but Hartenstein only has one guaranteed year (link) while Diallo has two (link).