The Sacramento Kings continued their free agency Saturday evening by making the decision to re-sign veteran center Alex Len to a one-year deal, according to Shams Charania. Len signed for the veteran minimum, worth $3.2 million next season as Len has played 10 seasons in the NBA.
Because he is signed for the veteran minimum, the Kings will not take a full $3.2 million cap hit.
Len, 30, had a relatively minor role in the Kings’ rotation until later in the season. He averaged only 1.7 points, 2.3 rebounds, and 0.5 assists per game in only 26 games last season. He also averaged roughly 6 minutes per game in that time.
Despite this, head coach Mike Brown said this about Len in April (via NBA Sports):
"“He’s probably our best screen setter in pick-and-roll situations. He gets his feet set, doesn’t move, his base is solid. And then he gets out of the screen really quick in terms of getting a paint touch by putting pressure on the rim, trying to dive to the rim”"
This is an interesting comment to hear from Brown, considering how often we see All-Star center Domantas Sabonis hand the ball off and set screens in the Kings’ offense, which achieved the highest offensive rating in NBA history this past season.
There was a sort of test trial of backup centers last year held by Mike Brown. We saw a rotation of Len, Chimezie Metu, and Richaun Holmes. However, after trading away the 24th pick and Richaun Holmes and losing Chimezie Metu to the Phoenix Suns in free agency, the Sacramento Kings are left with Alex Len to backup Sabonis.
Sabonis agreed Saturday evening to a team-friendly renegotiation and extension to keep him with the Kings through the 2027-28 NBA season.
What this means for the Sacramento Kings going forward
Sabonis will be the starting center for the Kings for as long as he is healthy, and with the loss of two centers, we could see an increase in minutes for Len next season. Len is a solid backup choice. Yes, he is not the most flashy player, and his stats don’t make him seem like a great option, but considering how much Sabonis is playing and how the Kings’ offense is run, he makes a stable choice for the Kings – especially at the veteran minimum.
Another option for the Sacramento Kings this year will be two-way player Neemias Queta, who recently was offered a new contract and will play in the California Classic summer league. Queta is a 7-foot center who has dominated the G League with the Stockton Kings, earning first-team G League honors and finishing second in MVP voting.
Queta has not had the opportunity to play much for Sacramento, only getting to play in 20 games over his two-year career after being drafted in the second round of the 2021 NBA draft. There is a high possibility we see him get a shot at a larger role in the NBA this season, especially if he performs well in the summer league.
While Sabonis may be the future of the Kings, having these guys as options – especially in the event of a Sabonis injury – is crucial to keeping the momentum going for the Kings as they build for the future.