The Sacramento Kings are about to get a whole lot taller.
After a positive coronavirus test back on June 21, Kings 7-footer Alex Len is on the mend and heading to the Orlando Bubble.
“Alex is flying to Orlando tonight," head coach Luke Walton said. "I think he gets in somewhere around 11 o’clock tonight and then he’ll go into the protocol as far as entering the bubble when he gets in.”
Len joined the Kings at the trade deadline, along with Jabari Parker in a trade that sent center Dewayne Dedmon back to the Hawks. He made an immediate impact on the defensive for Sacramento and earned a spot in Walton's rotation.
With most of his teammates arriving in the NBA's bubble on July 8, Len is behind the curve. With Len out of action and Richaun Holmes on lock down, Walton has turned to Harry Giles and Marvin Bagley to eat minutes at the five. That rotation of bigs might have to continue, at least in the short term for Sacramento.
“We’ll see,” Walton said when asked about Len’s physical shape. “My feel is that we’ve probably got a good amount of work to do as far as conditioning and legs. He hasn’t done anything at least since he came in on that mandatory report date of the 21 of June.”
“It’s been a while,” Walton said. “He’s a big body. When you’re that size, we’ve got to make sure that we get his legs and his wind back before we throw him into any kind of contact type of drills.”
Once Len arrives in Orlando, he'll be quarantined to his room pending two negative coronavirus tests. That puts him out at least for Friday as well, which means it's unlikely that Len will be available when the Kings open their scrimmage schedule on July 22 against the Miami Heat.
Sacramento should have plenty of options at the five, but Len is by far the biggest player on the roster. They'll need his size to go up against some of the larger centers in the game, that is if he can get back on track over the next two weeks leading up to the Kings' first game of the restart against the San Antonio Spurs on July 31.
The news wasn't as positive for Harrison Barnes. According to Walton, the Kings' starting small forward is still in the NBA's coronavirus protocol. He tested positive for the virus during the Fourth of July weekend, which puts him out for at least another few days at a minimum.