Alex Len

Kings Waive Robin Lopez

The Kings have officially waived newly acquired center Robin Lopez, as expected, per an announcement from the team.

Sacramento acquired Lopez from Milwaukee in a salary dump deal on Thursday, with the Bucks sending enough cash to the Kings in the trade to make it worth their while. With JaVale McGee and Alex Len already on the roster as backups for starting center Domantas Sabonis, the Kings weren’t interested in hanging onto another veteran big man, preferring to open up that 15th roster spot.

Lopez appeared in 16 games for the Bucks this season, recording just 18 points, five rebounds, and four assists on 7-of-19 shooting in 65 total minutes of action.

Sacramento will eat Lopez’s minimum-salary ($2,019,706) cap hit and he’ll be free to sign with any team except for Milwaukee once he clears waivers.

Kings Notes: Losing Streak, Rotation, Murray, NBAGL Team

The Kings remain in the thick of the Western Conference playoff race with a 23-18 record, but they’re in the midst of their worst stretch of the season, having dropped a fourth consecutive game on Thursday. While road losses in Philadelphia and Milwaukee last Friday and Sunday were understandable, Sacramento blew a big fourth quarter lead in Phoenix on Tuesday and fell at home to a depleted Pacers team last night.

“It’s a lot of little things that are turning into big things,” Keegan Murray said of the Kings’ on-court issues, per Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee.

One of those issues is free throw shooting. The Kings’ 72.5% rate from the foul line this season is easily the NBA’s worst mark and the team made just 25-of-44 (56.8%) free throws in its past two losses.

“That’s two games in a row we shoot 50% from the free throw line,” head coach Mike Brown said on Thursday. “I’m not sure what it is. Today we shot more free throws in a shootaround than we ever have in a shootaround since I’ve been here. And yesterday, we shot more free throws in a practice than we ever have since I’ve been here.”

“You go back to the work. You get in the gym,” wing Kevin Huerter said. “You’ve got to build your confidence by trusting the work you put in. We shot ourselves in the foot. This is the third game in a row this has happened against three good teams. It feels like it’s all self-inflicted and that’s why it’s frustrating for us. It’s no secret. We can’t miss 14 free throws at home and expect to beat a team that’s this good, even with the players they have out. That’s stuff that we can control.”

Here’s more on the Kings:

  • Despite the losing streak, Brown seems to have settled into a rotation he likes, with Huerter back in the starting five and Malik Monk, Trey Lyles, Sasha Vezenkov, and Alex Len playing regular minutes off the bench, notes Anderson. “I hate to say this, but I feel fairly comfortable (with the current rotation),” Brown said prior to Thursday’s loss. “Now, that doesn’t mean I may not change again with the way our rotation is right now, but I feel fairly comfortable with what we’re doing right now, and I’m going to ride with it a little bit and give it an opportunity.” Davion Mitchell, Chris Duarte, Keon Ellis, and JaVale McGee are among those not seeing regular playing time as of late.
  • Anthony Slater of The Athletic outlines why the Kings consider Murray essentially untouchable in trade talks, writing that the team views the former No. 4 overall pick as a player who could round out a long-term big three alongside Domantas Sabonis and De’Aaron Fox. “Keegan is a huge part of our future,” Brown said. “We rely on him for a lot and, to a certain degree, it is a little unfair. Because we’re a playoff team. There aren’t many guys that are in year two that are expected to do what he does.”
  • Anjali Ranadive, the daughter of Kings owner Vivek Ranadive, has stepped down from her position as the general manager of the Stockton Kings, Sacramento’s G League affiliate announced today in a press release. She’ll be pursuing a Ph.D. and focusing on her non-profit organization while assistant general manager Gabriel Harris takes on the day-to-day GM responsibilities in Stockton. “We are grateful to Anjali for her contributions to the Stockton Kings over the past two seasons,” Kings GM Monte McNair said in a statement. “Under her leadership the team has excelled on the court and is set for success in the future.”
  • In other Stockton news, the Kings’ G League team added a former NBA first-round pick earlier this week, announcing in a press release that veteran swingman Shabazz Muhammad has joined the roster. The No. 14 pick in the 2013 draft, Muhammad last played in the NBA in 2018 for Milwaukee, but continues to try to make it back to the league.

Injury Notes: Duren, Jazz, Wright, Len, B. Brown

With the Pistons looking to avoid becoming the first team in NBA history to ever lose 27 consecutive games in a single season, starting center Jalen Duren appears poised to make his return from an eight-game absence due to a left ankle sprain. He’s listed as probable to play vs. Brooklyn on Tuesday, tweets James L. Edwards of The Athletic.

While no player on the Pistons has particularly flattering on/off-court numbers this season, the team has played better with Duren available. Detroit’s net rating in the big man’s 404 minutes this season is -7.9; that net rating slips to just -12.8 in the team’s 988 minutes without him on the court.

Here are a few more injury-related updates ahead of Tuesday’s slate of games:

  • The Jazz will get a couple guards back in their rotation on Tuesday, as both Keyonte George (left foot inflammation) and Talen Horton-Tucker (left foot inflammation) have been upgraded from questionable to available, tweets Andy Larsen of The Salt Lake Tribune. George has missed Utah’s past six games, while Horton-Tucker was unavailable for the last two.
  • The Wizards haven’t listed any injuries for Tuesday’s game against Orlando, according to Josh Robbins of The Athletic (via Twitter), which means veteran guard Delon Wright should be available for the first time since spraining his left knee on November 10.
  • Kings center Alex Len, who last played on November 13, has been upgraded to available and been cleared to return from a high right ankle sprain, per Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee (Twitter link). It’s unclear if Len will actually play at all in Portland on Tuesday, given that he only logged 41 total minutes across six appearances prior to the injury.
  • Pacers wing Bruce Brown has been ruled out of Tuesday’s game in Houston as a result of a right knee bone bruise (Twitter link via Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files). It’ll be the second consecutive missed game for Brown after he appeared in each of Indiana’s first 27 contests this season.

Kings Notes: Physicality, Len, Fox, Monk, Giles

Although the Kings have lost nine games so far this season, those losses have come against just four separate teams. Sacramento has lost to Pelicans three times and the Clippers, Warriors, and Rockets twice apiece — Tuesday’s defeat at the hands of the Clippers was the second time in two weeks that the Kings have fallen to L.A.

Speaking on Tuesday to reporters, including Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee, head coach Mike Brown suggested that the Kings’ record so far indicates his club struggles to match up with the length and physicality of bigger teams.

“Houston’s big,” Brown said. “New Orleans is big. The Clippers are big, and obviously they’re different because some of them have scoring at four or five positions, but it’s about the level of physicality that our opponents have brought to the game when it comes to the common denominator for the losses.”

Besides being disappointed with the lack of physicality and grit his team showed on Tuesday, Brown was also perturbed by his players’ focus on addressing issues on the offensive end rather than prioritizing getting defensive stops.

“At the end of the first half, they shot 60% from the floor and scored 70 points, and throughout that whole first half, coming from our players, it’s ‘Hey, we’ve got to swing the ball. We’ve got to do this offensively. We’ve got to do that offensively,'” Brown said. “That can’t be our mindset, not when a team’s shooting 60% from the floor and scoring 70 points on you and getting 32 points in the paint in one half. Your mindset has to be: Somebody has to get a stop.”

Here’s more on the Kings:

  • Reserve center Alex Len, who is recovering from a high right ankle sprain, has resumed on-court activities but isn’t running or jumping yet, he tells Anderson of The Sacramento Bee. The team initially announced on November 17 – nearly four weeks ago – that Len was expected to be sidelined for six-to-eight weeks, so his return is still a little ways off.
  • De’Aaron Fox reportedly turned down a two-year, maximum-salary extension offer from the Kings prior to the season in the hopes of landing a more significant payday in a year or two. So what might his next deal look like? Keith Smith of Spotrac digs into that topic, exploring a few different scenarios that depend on whether or not Fox qualifies for a super-max contract.
  • Kings guard Malik Monk was hit with a $2,000 flopping fine for a play that took place in Monday’s win over Brooklyn, per the NBA (Twitter link). The video of the play can be found right here.
  • Monday’s return to Sacramento was a “dream come true” for former first-round pick Harry Giles, writes Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Now a member of the Nets, Giles spent his first three years in the NBA with the Kings and said he misses the fans in Sacramento. “I don’t know what it is. It just feels like home. It feels like we’ve known each other forever,” Giles told Anderson of The Bee. “Some people are just meant for you. Sacramento fans are meant for me and I’m meant for them. That’s a mutual thing we have in common. I feel like I’m from here almost.”

Kings’ Alex Len Out 6-8 Weeks With High Ankle Sprain

Kings reserve center Alex Len will miss about six-to-eight weeks after sustaining a “moderate but stable” high right ankle sprain on Monday, the team announced (Twitter link via James Ham of

It’s unfortunate news for Len, who was out of Sacramento’s rotation for the first six games but then started receiving minutes over JaVale McGee after impressing head coach Mike Brown in garbage time during a blowout loss to Houston on November 6. McGee received spot minutes after Len was injured on Monday and then again on Wednesday against the Lakers, but the Kings have mostly gone with a shortened rotation that emphasizes pace and shooting during their past couple games.

A former lottery pick (fifth overall in 2013), Len has never really lived up to his lofty draft status, but he’s in his 11th NBA season, so he has carved out a long career as a journeyman role player. The Ukrainian big man re-signed with the Kings as a free agent this offseason, inking a one-year deal for the veteran’s minimum.

Len, 30, averaged 2.5 PPG, 2.7 RPG and 0.8 BPG in 6.8 MPG during his six appearances in 2023/24. He holds career averages of 7.4 PPG, 5.7 RPG and 0.9 BPG over 610 regular season contests.

Pacific Notes: Len, Hood-Schifino, Tucker, Harden

Kings reserve center Alex Len has been diagnosed with a moderate high right ankle sprain, James Ham of The Kings Beat relays (Twitter link). Len underwent an MRI after suffering the injury against Cleveland on Monday. He was ruled out for Wednesday’s game against the Lakers and the club will provide further updates when appropriate.

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • Lakers rookie guard Jalen Hood-Schifino has yet to make his NBA debut but he’s getting closer. Sidelined by a right patella contusion, Hood-Schifino went through full-court drills on Tuesday, ESPN’s Dave McMenamin tweets in a video post. The 17th pick of the draft out of Indiana University, Hood-Schifino could see immediate playing time with Gabe Vincent out with a knee injury.
  • Clippers forward P.J. Tucker is used to playing 25-to-30 minutes per night, but has only averaged 14.4 minutes in five games since being traded by Philadelphia in the James Harden blockbuster. Tucker is hoping that changes soon, but is willing to do what the team asks of him, he told Janis Carr of the Orange County Register. “I went from 30 minutes starting to playing 10 minutes coming off the bench,” Tucker said. “It’s a huge adjustment for me. I probably have the most adjustment than anybody, but I’m a professional. I come in and do my job every night, do my job and leave it out there on the court in the time I get.”
  • Don’t give up on the Clippers, even if they’ve lost five straight in the aftermath of the Harden trade, Michael Pina of The Ringer writes. He argues that the strong connection between Kawhi Leonard and Paul George and the team’s overall talent will supersede any chemistry issues created by Harden’s presence.

Western Notes: Doncic, Tenzer, Watson, McGee, Len, Spurs

Luka Doncic isn’t doing himself any favors with his constant complaining to the officials, Tim Cato of The Athletic writes. The Mavericks superstar was tossed from Slovenia’s quarterfinal loss to Canada in the FIBA World Cup. Doncic’s technical fouls in the NBA have risen in each of his five seasons. Cato notes. Doncic has publicly acknowledged over the years he needs to pipe down, but his actions haven’t reflected it. He’s a master at drawing contact but complaining about non-calls serves no useful purpose, as Cato writes.

We have more from the Western Conference:

  • The Nuggets’ new G League general manager, Ben Tenzer, believes forward Peyton Watson will blossom in his second NBA season, he told Bennett Durando of the Denver Post. “(He) has all the potential in the world. I think it starts with his defense and his energy,” Tenzer said. “He’s such a unique player with his size and his ability to cover the court. His shot-blocking ability. I think we were able to see it a little bit when he played with the Nuggets toward the end of the season, how good he can be. So I think for him it starts with the defensive side. The offensive side will come because of his natural ability to be able to handle and attack the rim.”
  • Alex Len and JaVale McGee are expected to make the Kings’ opening night roster and compete for backup minutes at center, James Ham of tweets. That doesn’t come as much of a surprise, considering they both have guaranteed contracts. That also means Neemias Queta and Nerlens Noel, who have partially guaranteed deals, will essentially be competing for the final roster spot, assuming Sacramento decides to carry 15 players.
  • The Spurs have 18 players on guaranteed or partially guaranteed deals. So who will be the odd men out? The Athletic’s John Hollinger and Kelly Iko explore that, plus other Spurs-related topics. Khem Birch and Charles Bassey appear to be the most vulnerable, according to Hollinger. If San Antonio is unable to deal one of its guards, then either Doug McDermott, Reggie Bullock or Cedi Osman could be bought out.

Pacific Notes: McGee, Durant, Reaves

The Kings have signed JaVale McGee to a one-year contract. McGee got a guaranteed veteran’s minimum deal but that doesn’t mean he’s assured of making the roster out of training camp, Jason Anderson of the Sacramento Bee writes.

The Kings have McGee, Alex Len, Nerlens Noel, Neemias Queta and Skal Labissiere on the camp roster as potential backups to star center Domantas Sabonis. Labissiere is ticketed to the G League but Len has a fully guaranteed one-year deal, while Noel and Queta have partial guarantees. That means four players are essentially vying for two roster spots.

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • The Warriors won championships in 2017 and 2018 with Kevin Durant on their roster. Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic compares those Warriors teams to the current Suns group with Durant, Devin Booker and Bradley Beal as the main trio, evaluating how Phoenix might emulate those championship clubs.
  • The Lakers have tried to acquire a third star in recent years to join forces with LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Do they now have that player on the roster in the form of Austin Reaves? Jovan Buha of The Athletic explores that topic, considering how well Reaves has performed for Team USA. With several weeks to adjust to his new role as a primary ball-handler during training camp, Reaves can cement his status as an All-Star-level third option, Buha concludes.
  • Reaves said the World Cup hasn’t taken a physical toll on him, he told Dan Woike of the Los Angeles Times in a Q&A session. “I feel great. It’s been better than I expected,” the Lakers guard said. “You look at it, you go down the list of minutes guys have played and nobody plays more than 25 minutes. On max, someone might play 30 minutes a game. So, it’s not really like the NBA season where you’re playing 32, 35, maybe 40 minutes. The minutes are way shorter.”

Kings Interested In JaVale McGee

The Kings are interested in signing veteran center JaVale McGee once he clears waivers, Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report and NBA on TNT tweets.

The Mavericks officially waived McGee on Monday and he’ll become an unrestricted free agent on Thursday.

Sacramento has 13 players on guaranteed contracts and two more frontcourt players —  Neemias Queta and Nerlens Noel — on partially guaranteed deals. The Kings also have Alex Len behind Domantas Sabonis in the center spot with Trey Lyles another possibility in small-ball lineups.

McGee could join the battle for backup minutes behind Sabonis. He’d be on his ninth NBA team since entering the league in 2008.

McGee signed a three-year, $17MM+ contract with Dallas last offseason, but only spent seven games in the starting lineup and subsequently fell out of the rotation altogether. The 35-year-old averaged 4.4 points and 2.5 rebounds in a career-low 8.5 minutes per game across 42 appearances during his second stint as a Maverick.

Warriors Notes: Open Roster Spots, Gay, Quinones, Centers, Martin

Although the Warriors aren’t closing the door on the possibility of filling all 15 slots on their standard roster to open the 2023/24 season, the team seems unlikely to carry more than 14, says Anthony Slater of The Athletic. That means that once the Dario Saric signing is official, Golden State will probably just have one standard roster spot left to fill.

There’s no rush to add a 14th man though, according to Slater, who explains that the club already addressed its top two offseason priorities by adding a steady veteran guard (Cory Joseph) and a frontcourt player who can shoot (Saric). Slater expects the Warriors to exercise patience from here on out rather than looking to sign another player right away.

As Slater observes, there are already a few buyout candidates on rosters around the NBA, and more could emerge if certain star trade candidates get moved and roster shake-ups occur. The Warriors may be reluctant to commit a guaranteed contract to a 14th player without knowing which other veterans will reach free agency.

Slater identifies veteran forward Rudy Gay as one player worth keeping an eye on, since the Warriors have had interest in him in the past. He’s being traded from Atlanta to Oklahoma City, and the Thunder seem unlikely to hang onto him due to his age (37 next month) and a roster crunch in OKC.

Here’s more on the Warriors:

  • Slater hears from team sources that Golden State would also be OK with the idea of making the 14th roster spot available in a training camp competition. If the club puts that spot up for grabs, it might make Lester Quinones more inclined to accept his two-way qualifying offer, recognizing that he’d have an opportunity to earn a promotion to the standard roster before the season begins, Slater writes.
  • While the Warriors don’t appear to be in love with any of the free agent centers currently on the market, they’re certainly not opposed to adding another player at that spot. According to Slater, the team looked into veteran bigs like Mason Plumlee or Alex Len early in free agency before both players re-signed with their respective teams.
  • General manager Mike Dunleavy Jr. confirmed on Monday that the team is open to adding another center, either using a standard roster spot or a two-way slot. However, Dunleavy cautioned that it’s hard to find big men who fit the Warriors’ system and stressed that they don’t just want “somebody who’s tall” (Twitter video link via Slater). “We’ve got to be careful with the way we play, the way the league works,” Dunleavy said. “… You’ve gotta be skilled. You’ve gotta have feel. You’ve gotta know how to play.”
  • The Warriors looked into the idea of trading for Kenyon Martin Jr. before Houston sent him to the Clippers, league and team sources tell Slater. Golden State has a trade exception that would have fit Martin without any outgoing salary required, but those negotiations never reached the final stages.