Nerlens Noel Guarding Klay Thompson

Nerlens Noel Trade Rumors: Will 76ers Keep Jahlil Okafor, Deal Noel Instead?

Nerlens Noel trade rumors are back, and the Philadelphia 76ers are actively involved in trade discussions involving the young center. Noel is part of the logjam of centers that also includes Jahlil Okafor and Joel Embiid in Philadelphia. It has been hard for the coaching staff to give all three guys enough minutes to keep them happy, leading to the assumption by many NBA analysts that one would be gone by the February 23 NBA trade deadline.

A report by NBA analyst Steve Kyler has given new life to the chatter about Nerlens Noel, as he stated that the 76ers are “still very active” when it comes to any player not named Joel Embiid or Ben Simmons. This is interesting news, as it had seemed that Jahlil Okafor was more likely to get dealt within the next week. At the beginning of the 2016-17 NBA season, Noel seemed like the odd man out, but when he got healthy, Noel and Embiid were the most successful combination of the three big men.

When it comes down to which player might be the most expendable for the Philadelphia 76ers, the answer continues to be Nerlens Noel. He is in the final year of his current contract and will become a restricted free agent during the NBA offseason. This could mean that Noel is about to receive a big payday, whether it comes from Philadelphia or another team looking for size in the low post. Dealing Noel for other younger (cheaper) assets might be in the best interest of a 76ers team that is still trying to be relevant again.

Nerlens Noel On Defense For 76ers
[Image by Tom Pennington/Getty Images]

During the 2016-17 NBA season, Noel has played in 29 games for the 76ers, averaging 8.9 points, 5.0 rebounds, 1.45 steals, and about one block per game. In comparison, Joel Embiid has played 30 games, averaging 20.2 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 2.45 blocks per game. Jahlil Okafor has played in 38 games, averaging 11.4 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 1.08 blocks per game.

Each player has dealt with injuries, limiting the amount of time that the 76ers could actually work with a healthy roster. One player who has emerged from all of it is Dario Saric, who has averaged 10.8 points and 5.9 rebounds over 56 games played. Saric is seeing a lot of time at power forward, making him likely to remain with the team, no matter which center gets dealt before the NBA trade deadline.

It’s not surprising at all that the most recent Philadelphia 76ers trade rumors insinuate that Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons are unavailable. It wouldn’t be surprising to hear that Dario Saric has been added to that list either. Despite the continued struggles of the 76ers in the NBA standings, the team does have some really good athletes that one day could form a competitive group of players. That moment just hasn’t happened yet.

Jahlil Okafor, Nerlens Noel, And Jerami Grant For 76ers
[Image by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images]

The NBA trade deadline is now less than a week away, cutting into the time that the front office of the Philadelphia 76ers has to make a deal. If a team were to offer a first-round pick for Nerlens Noel, the 76ers might jump on that offer right away. This is where a franchise like the Portland Trail Blazers might get mentioned, as the team possesses some clear assets. As previously reported by the Inquisitr, Portland pulled off two trades that have landed the team three first-round picks in the 2017 NBA Draft. Could one be used to acquire Noel?

There are still a lot of questions about what the 76ers plan to do this season, during the upcoming NBA offseason, and then during the 2017 NBA Draft. It could be easy for the team to acquire a young point guard in the draft, possibly putting him on a roster that will still include Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons as the core components. From that point, the 76ers just need to figure out which players will best fit with them on the court. It’s even possible that Nerlens Noel and Jahlil Okafor both get traded if the right offers come along.

[Featured Image by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images]

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