NBA rumors are swirling around the Philadelphia 76ers center Nerlens Noel suggesting he could be traded before the end of the season, multiple reports concluded this week.
The rumors have centered around the fact that Philadelphia 76ers and Nerlens Noel failed to reach a contract extension by the NBA deadline for fourth-year players, the Boston Globe reported earlier this month. While Nerlens Noel would be a restricted free agent in 2017, it’s more likely the Philadelphia 76ers will move on from their oft-injured first-round draft pick, writer Gary Washburn hinted.
“[I]t was notable that the 76ers didn’t come close to striking a deal with center Nerlens Noel, who could have earned a deal in the $70 million range because of his potential, especially defensively. But it seems the 76ers have decided to move Noel, who will now be a restricted free agent this summer.”
The Philadelphia 76ers need to find a trade partner for Nerlens Noel or risk losing the athlete without gaining anything in return. That’s where the Toronto Raptors enter the picture, according to CBS Sports.
— Phil Lee (@thephilishere) November 7, 2016
The motive behind the move to acquire Nerlens Noel would be to add talent at a reasonable price, a skill Toronto Raptors general manager Masai Ujiri has added to his repertoire. As the GM for the Denver Nuggets, Masai Ujiri gambled by trading Nene for Javale McGee, a trade that worked out well for the NBA franchise.
Nerlens Noel would fit the description of talent that can be added cheaply because he is viewed as damaged goods. The Toronto Raptors would be trading for a player that is currently out recovering from an October knee surgery. Nerlens Noel is not expected to return for several more weeks, according to the CBS Sports report.
The only reason the Toronto Raptors would hesitate to acquire Nerlens Noel — who has averaged 10.5 points, 8.1 rebounds, and 1.7 blocks per game over two seasons — would be to see how their current crop of young talent develops in the absence of the reliable Jared Sullinger, ESPN‘s Marc Stein suggested in a report this week.
— Zesty Raptors News (@zesty_raptors) November 5, 2016
The Toronto Raptors aren’t the only team to express interest in Nerlens Noel. The Boston Celtics also make sense on paper to be trade partners with the Philadelphia 76ers for the center’s services, Bleacher Report surmised in a recent article. A healthy Nerlens Noel would take over Amir Johnson’s starting role for the Boston Celtics, the report concluded.
The Boston Globe also reported on the Celtics’ interest in Nerlens Noel. The Boston Celtics did not sign fourth-year player Kelly Olynyk to an extension to give them salary cap space for a potential Nerlens Noel signing after the season, the report alluded.
“The Celtics have long admired Noel, so don’t be surprised if they make an offer next summer, hoping to pair the Everett [Massachusetts] native with Al Horford in the frontcourt.”
Philadelphia has the luxury to renounce their rights to Nerlens Noel because the 76ers have multiple players with his skill set already on the roster thanks to several high draft picks the past few seasons. The moribund NBA franchise has Joel Embiid, Jahlil Okafor, Ben Simmons, and Dario Saric ready to absorb minutes Nerlens Noel would have otherwise earned in the Philadelphia 76ers’ lineup.
Rumors suggest Nerlens Noel is not the only NBA player who is currently available for trade, the Inquisitr reported on Saturday. Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins is also being shopped, garnering interest from the Denver Nuggets and the Portland Trail Blazers early into the 2016-2017 NBA season.
Do you believe the NBA rumors swirling around Nerlens Noel that the Boston Celtics or the Toronto Raptors will trade for the athlete? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below.
[Featured Image by Elsa/Getty Images]