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Alex Len, Wizards agree to deal to boost frontcourt depth


The Wizards now have Len, 12-year veteran Robin Lopez and Moe Wagner at the center spot, though Wagner entered into the league’s coronavirus protocol on Jan. 12 and probably won’t return to games for some time. Players who test positive for the coronavirus must isolate for between 10-14 days, per NBA rules, and then need time to work back into game shape.

In the meantime, Len gives an extremely shorthanded Washington roster — the team has six positive coronavirus cases — an extra body. He’s averaged 7.9 points and 6.2 rebounds for his career, not living up to his draft spot after Phoenix took him No. 5 overall in 2013 but sticking in the league nonetheless.

The Wizards are Len’s fourth team in the past two seasons. The Ukrainian native appeared in just seven games for Toronto, averaging 2.3 points and 1.6 rebounds in limited minutes before falling off the depth chart.

Even with Len joining the roster, which was first reported by The Athletic, Washington may be forced to run with small lineups when it resumes its season Sunday in San Antonio. The team missed six games because of a coronavirus outbreak and has not played since Jan. 11.

The Wizards had nine players at practice Thursday and only two were frontcourt players — Lopez and backup forward Anthony Gill, who has not seen significant playing time this season.

Washington is so short on bigs that 6-3 shooting guard Bradley Beal took turns guarding the 7-foot Lopez on Thursday.

“There were many moments where [Beal] was guarding RoLo,” Coach Scott Brooks said in a virtual news conference Thursday, “and RoLo has all these moves down low, footwork is impeccable, and Bradley’s trying to push him out of his box — it was pretty comical. I was laughing underneath my mask. That’s what we’re going to have to do … we had a good practice today with what we had. But [the guys] understand we’re going to have to mix things up.”

Len averaged 9.7 points and 7 rebounds in two seasons at Maryland.

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