Nerlens Noel might be Dirk Nowitzki’s heir apparent as the next great Dallas Mavericks big man, and Nowitzki is a little dismayed that Noel has yet to reach a resolution with the team.
Speaking with Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News this week, The Big German commented on Noel’s contract stalemate with Dallas this summer.
“We’re looking forward to the future and the whole Noel situation is a little unfortunate I think,” said Nowitzki. “We traded for him to keep him for the long run. I’m not sure what the latest is there, but I’m hoping that things will work out and he’s coming back to the Mavs and we’d have a crew that at times can be very athletic — when I’m out of the game.”
The 23-year-old Noel, a restricted agent this offseason, remains unsigned over a month into free agency. Amidst clamors of unhappiness from Noel’s camp, the Mavs are beginning to have an ugly situation on their hands, and now even their franchise icon is turning up the heat.
Nerlens Noel isn’t pleased that his situation still has yet to be resolved nearly three weeks into free agency.
Noel’s agent Happy Walters voiced his client’s displeasure on Tuesday.
“We’re very disappointed with where things stand,” said Walters, per Eddie Sefko of SportsDay. “Nerlens loves Dallas and spent June there working out, but we’re still waiting on a serious offer.”
The 23-year-old Noel is a restricted free agent this summer. He averaged 8.5 points and 6.8 rebounds in 22.0 minutes per game for the Mavs last season after being acquired at the trade deadline.
A young, athletic, defensively-savvy big man like Noel has core player written all over him, especially for a relatively old Dallas team (a sentiment they once appeared to share as well). Perhaps they are just waiting out the market, which has presumably been somewhat of a successful strategy with cap space having dried up around the league by now. But in doing so, the Mavs may have alienated Noel and created another set of problems for themselves.
- Nerlens Noel
Nerlens Noel is set to become a restricted free agent this summer, and the 23-year-old big man will likely receive max contract offers from multiple teams. According to one report, that won’t matter to the Dallas Mavericks.
The Mavs are likely going to match any offer to Noel, as Marc Stein is reporting that re-signing Noel is their No. 1 priority this offseason.
Re-signing Nerlens Noel, league sources say, is Dallas' offseason priority, far ahead of their long-anticipated interest in UFA Jrue Holiday
— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) June 24, 2017
As Stein noted, there have been rumblings that the Mavericks are the favorite to land Jrue Holiday. However, they seem intent on making sure they take care of their own young core first.
Harrison Barnes, Nerlens Noel, Seth Curry and now Dennis Smith … sources say Dallas is focused on cementing and developing its young core
— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) June 24, 2017
Dallas acquired Noel last season from the Philadelphia 76ers in exchange for Justin Anderson, Andrew Bogut and a protected first-round pick. The price seemed awfully low for a player with so much potential, though Noel played just 22.0 minutes per game and averaged 8.5 points and 6.8 rebounds. The Mavericks likely envision him having a much bigger role going forward.
Nerlens Noel may be about to become Nerlen$$$ Noel this offseason.
According to a report by Mike Fisher of Scout.com on Monday, “multiple” teams may be willing to sign the Dallas Mavericks impending restricted free agent big man to a max offer sheet. Fisher also adds that, assuming a $101 million cap for next season, a max for Noel could be worth up to $146.45 million over five years with a starting salary of $25.25 million.
Noel, 23, averaged 8.7 points and 5.3 rebounds per game in 2016-17. He was dealt to Dallas from the Philadelphia 76ers at the trade deadline.
While his counting stats may be modest, Noel is a transformative and versatile defensive presence who can blow up pick-and-rolls, switch onto guards above the arc, and protect the rim at a top-tier level. He still has a lot of time to improve offensively as well, and there’s an argument to be made that Noel could be worth the max given the bloated contracts that aging, below-average bigs like Timofey Mozgov, Ian Mahinmi, and Joakim Noah got last summer.
The Mavericks can obviously match any offer sheet that Noel is signed to. But with other free agent targets on the table and the fact that they acquired Noel for the measly cost of Justin Anderson and two second-rounders, it’s worth wondering how high Dallas may be willing to go to retain him.
Image via Nerlens Noel on Instagram
- Nerlens Noel
The Philadelphia 76ers traded 2013 lottery pick Nerlens Noel on Thursday, and they didn’t get a huge haul in return.
Noel, once the No. 6 pick, netted the 76ers a bench player in Justin Anderson, a first round pick that reportedly may turn into a pair of second rounders, and Andrew Bogut, who will be traded or bought out by Philadelphia. Noel may not be a star, but he has career averages of 10.2 points and 7.6 rebounds per game.
The reason for the weak return, according to ESPN’s Zach Lowe, is Noel’s looming restricted free agency.
Team had trouble generating a market for Noel w/ pending restricted free agency status and potential near-max offer sheets expected.
— Zach Lowe (@ZachLowe_NBA) February 23, 2017
That restricted free agency was cited as a possible stumbling block for a trade when Noel rumors first started popping up. Essentially, teams may feel there is no reason to give up a lot for Noel now when they can try to sign him after the season. And you have to have a lot of confidence in Noel’s value if you’re planning to pay him near-max money while giving up assets for him.
Philly made the deal anyway and they didn’t get a whole lot in return, but it seems likely that they just really wanted to move one of their big men.
The Dallas Mavericks are acquiring Nerlens Noel from the Philadelphia 76ers ahead of the NBA trade deadline.
The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski first reported the news on the trade and says the Mavs are sending Philly Justin Anderson, a first-round pick, and Andrew Bogut’s expiring contract for Noel.
The 76ers have been trying to move Jahlil Okafor to fix their surplus of big men, but they haven’t been able to find the right deal yet. Instead they are trading Noel, who was the No. 6 pick in 2013.
The former Kentucky big man will be a restricted free agent after the season, and the Mavericks are hoping to sign him long term.
Bogut was in his first season in Dallas and has expected to be traded prior to the deadline. He is on an expiring contract and making $11 million this season. Philly may choose to buy him out or trade him elsewhere.
Philly likely re-routing Andrew Bogut, just acquired from Dallas w/Justin Anderson & pick for Nerlens Noel. Boston possibility, per source.
— David Aldridge (@daldridgetnt) February 23, 2017
Anderson is in his second year in the NBA after being a first-round pick in 2015 out of Virginia. He has just been a bench option at forward thus far in his career.
The first-round pick Dallas is sending Philly doesn’t have as much value as you would think on the surface. ESPN’s Marc Stein says it is protected for spots 1-18 in the first.
It sure sounds like the Philadelphia 76ers want to move one of their big men before Thursday’s trade deadline.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski on The Vertical podcast, the Sixers may circle back and entertain offers for Nerlens Noel if they cannot find a suitable deal involving Jahlil Okafor.
A complicating factor is that Noel will be a restricted free agent this summer, and thus will get significantly more expensive.
“If [the 76ers’ can’t get a deal for Okafor done before the deadline, I’m told that it’s possible they’ll start – there are still teams still checking on Noel, re-engaging on him,” Wojnarowski said, via HoopsHype. “What complicates it for Noel is that he’s a restricted free agent, and teams want to know ‘what is it going to cost to us to re-sign him.’ And it’s going to be a big number.”
The Vertical’s Chris Mannix has heard that the Sixers are struggling to move Okafor because they value him more highly than the rest of the league does.
“They still value Okafor as a third overall pick,” Mannix said. “That’s their prerogative, but the teams I’ve talked to do not value him as a third overall pick.”
Okafor came very close to being traded before the All-Star Game, and the Sixers seem very motivated to move him. However, it sounds like, for all the interest, they’re just not finding the right offers right now.