Many people speculated that Len might be in for a windfall this summer after the stupid money that was thrown around to underperforming bigs last free agency period. The list below is littered with abhorrent contract from 2016, with Mozgov and Noah approaching the realm of fireable offenses.
The Lakers had to include 2015 #2 overall pick D’Angelo Russell in a trade just to dump Mozgov’s contract.
If anyone reading this wants one of those players on the Suns for that money I think you haven’t been paying close enough attention.
Back in May Brightside’s esteemed emperor, Dave “the” King, wrote an article previewing this situation. He went through a group of centers ranked by Hoopshype.com that were hitting free agency which included both Len and Alan Williams. Spoiler alert: the two of them were near the bottom.
Still, Dave thought it possible that Len might fetch a multiyear offer for $10+ million per season based on the run on big men the previous year. Obviously, this has not happened.
Instead, the best offer Len has received is the qualifying offer of one year extended by the Suns. Yesterday, July 13th, was the last day for teams to withdraw qualifying offers to their restricted free agents. Len’s still stands. While another team could still offer Len a contract, or the Suns could offer something different than the QO, the silence of anything like that happening has been deafening.
Three factors, besides Alex’s own performance, may be complicating his ability to attract suitors.
1. The level of caution that has arisen from the profligate nature of last free agency period. The money doled out to big men is already looking terrible in hindsight.
2. The evolution of the game where players like Draymond Green and Anthony Davis are more desirable to play minutes in small ball lineups has really limited the market for lumbering bigs like Len.
3. The unresolved contract situations of restricted free agents Nerlens Noel and Mason Plumlee.
Heading into free agency there was buzz that multiple teams were entertaining the proposition of offering a max or near max deal to Noel. That has yet to come to fruition. While Noel and Plumlee will certainly get things hashed out, it is looking like the purse strings on their big paydays are also tightening.
That seems to be due to teams seeking out less expensive options that can at least emulate a good portion of their production. As this list from SB Nation’s free agent signings tracker shows, the tadpoles have all been snared while the big fish are left to roam.
Maybe Len will still become a butterfly and make me look foolish, but I’d rather have Williams on a three year, $17 million dollar deal than Len. Williams knows his role and brings an energy to the court and clubhouse that Len just doesn’t.
I think the Len promise bus has run out of gas.
Apparently a lot of other people do, too.
This list shows that 10 other players picked below Len in the 2013 draft have already been secured to long term deals.
While I’m perfectly happy with the Suns not having $64 million wrapped up into Gorgui Dieng, it does show that Len has been a disappointment... and that Ryan McDonough monumentally whiffed on his first ever draft pick for the Suns (of course his draft record is the focus of another article).
As I chronicled in Len’s report card in May, his time with the Suns has just been a narrative of the disappointment of unrealized potential.
It is looking more and more like Alex Len, a player who many thought would garner a multi-year deal in the double digit millions per season, will be playing the 2017-18 season for the Suns on the qualifying offer of $4.2 million.
And based on his less than stellar play in his “contract year” I feel like he earned himself every penny.