The Toronto Raptors have released NBA veteran center Alex Len after seven games with the organization. Len averaged 2.3 points and 1.6 rebounds in over 10 minutes a game. He spent last season with the Atlanta Hawks and Sacramento Kings.
Len has spent eight years in the NBA since being drafted fifth overall out of Maryland in the 2013 NBA Draft. He started two games with the Raptors but was released due to the emergence of Chris Boucher and Aron Baynes drawing more playing time within the offense this season.
The former Maryland Terrapins product will now hit the open free-agent market. He is a viable center with length and the ability to play inside the paint on both the offensive and defensive ends. Len is still 27 years old and two seasons removed from averaging 11.1 and 5.5 rebounds with the Hawks in 2018.
The NBA is discussing the possibility of adding more roster spots as it continues to play during the COVID-19 pandemic. ESPN insider Adrian Wojnarowski noted that the NBA could add an additional two-way roster spot for teams.
“The NBA and National Basketball Players Association must still agree on the details of granting teams an additional two-way roster spot for the balance of the regular season, but those talks are expected to soon culminate with an agreement and deeper roster options for teams struggling with COVID-19 issues,” Wojnarowski reported.
Len could benefit from the roster change. Teams could be in the market for another NBA veteran center to add depth to the roster.
For the Raptors, the move could signal a transition to a small-ball playing style. Over the last few games, the Raptors have used a guard-centric lineup with Kyle Lowry and Fred VanVleet joining OG Anunoby, Norman Powell and Pascal Siakam as the starters.
According to Boucher, the approach has started to get the Raptors back on track after a disappointing start. The Raptors are now 5-8 and won three straight games.
“You can tell we’re back to playing Raptors basketball,” Boucher said recently via NBA.com. “I think everybody starts seeing flashes of the way we can play. We’ve just got to be able to finish games. That’s (five) games that slipped away from us: Phoenix a close one, Philly a close one, Pelicans a close one, the last two were close ones. Those all could have been wins. I think we’re getting a little closer. It’s a long season. But we can’t afford to be losing games like that now that we’re 2-8.”
The Raptors will now look to continue their current winning streak while Len searches for his next NBA opportunity.