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Alex Len didn’t get Hawks trading him for Dewayne Dedmon

Dewayne Dedmon

ATLANTA, GA - MARCH 09: Dewayne Dedmon #14 of the Atlanta Hawks reacts during the first half of an NBA game against the Charlotte Hornets at State Farm Arena on March 9, 2020 in Atlanta, Georgia. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)

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Dewayne Dedmon blossomed into a solid starting center the previous couple years with the Hawks. He defended well, rebounded hard and even shot 3-pointers efficiently.

The Kings signed him last summer to a three-year $40 million contract with $1 million of $13,333,333 guaranteed in third season.

Atlanta settled for Alex Len on a one-year, $4.16 million deal.

But just before the deadline, the Hawks dealt Len to Sacramento for Dedmon.

Len, via Chris Kirschner of The Athletic:

“They didn’t want to pay him in the first place, so it didn’t make sense to me,” Len said. “If they wanted him, they could have just paid him. So they get him as a backup now and end up paying him anyway.

Players rarely talk about each other this way. It’s jarring. But I appreciate Len’s candor. In a league where so many players spew platitudes, it’s nice to hear how someone really feels.

Despite Len’s confusion, the trade was about far more than the Hawks reacquiring Dedmon. They got two second-rounders from Sacramento. They also unloaded Jabari Parker, who probably won’t be worth his $6.5 million player option next season.

And yes, they got Dedmon. In Dedmon, they got a player whom they know fits their system – and performed better in it than Len did (though Len is a few years younger than Dedmon). Atlanta can reasonably hope Dedmon’s struggles this season were due, at least in part, to a poor fit with the Kings.

So, it’s not as if the Hawks suddenly had second thoughts on letting Dedmon walk for that price. This was not the same as re-signing him. They got picks and unloaded a burdensome contract in the process of getting Dedmon. That appears to be what Len is missing.