UPDATE (9/24/17): Alex Len has officially signed a one-year, $4.2 million qualifying offer with the Suns, Shams Charania of The Vertical reports.
Phoenix center Alex Len has signed a one-year, $4.2M qualifying offer and will become an UFA next summer, league sources tell The Vertical.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) September 24, 2017
The following is the original Def Pen story:
The deadline for Phoenix Suns Center Alex Len to accept the organization’s qualifying offer is quickly approaching. According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, Len will indeed accept the offer before then.
Barring an unforeseen change of events, Phoenix Suns center Alex Len is planning to sign the team’s $4.2 million qualifying offer before training camp, clearing the way to become an unrestricted free agent in 2018, league sources told ESPN.
The Suns open camp on Tuesday at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff.
Len, 24, the fifth overall pick in the 2013 NBA draft, has spent the summer as a restricted free agent.
Len, a skilled 7-footer, investigated offer sheets and sign-and-trade proposals, but none made sense with the possibility of free agency next summer. The Suns are preserving salary-cap space in 2018 without signing him to an extension now, but do risk losing Len for no compensation.
Wojnowarski also reports the Suns want to evaluate how Len performs in the upcoming season before presenting him with a long-term contract. Len could leave as unrestricted free agent the following summer, but it doesn’t look like the team is overly concerned.
Len is a young, talented center who has ample room to improve. However, there is a logjam in the desert up front as Marquess Chriss, and Tyson Chandler both saw more court time than Len last season. The coaching staff also may look to develop 2016 4th overall pick, Dragan Bender, more next year, furthering the redundancy of Len.
Whatever Len or the Suns decide to do, it could end up benefiting both parties. Phoenix can figure out who their center will be going forward, and Len could find a team that needs him once he hits free agency.
Len is still young with a lot of potential — in 77 games last year he averaged 8 points, 6.6 rebounds and blocked 1.3 shots per game.