NBA trade rumors involving Philadelphia 76ers center Nerlens Noel have been one of the most common sights in the basketball rumor mill this off-season. Now that the NBA regular season is upon us, those rumors continue to surge. The Parent Herald has published a piece that points to the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors as the most likely teams to acquire Noel. According to Bleacher Report, several teams have shown interest in Cavs shooting guard Iman Shumpert, as well as the contract of recently-retired point guard Mo Williams.
The latest NBA trade rumors are suggesting that a three-way deal could be on the horizon between the Cavs, Clippers, and Sixers. The trade proposal being reported online is a seven-player swap that would net the Cavaliers center Nerlens Noel and shooting guard Jamal Crawford. The Clippers would receive shooting guard Iman Shumpert, power forward Jerami Grant, and a future first-round draft choice. The 76ers’ part of this trade would feature shooting guard Jordan McRae, small forward Alan Anderson, the contract of Mo Williams, and future first and second-round draft picks.
The Philadelphia 76ers have made it known for some time that they realize they need to unload one of their young centers, but more recently, reports indicate that the team has settled on Joel Embiid and Jahlil Okafor going forward, leaving Nerlens Noel as trade bait (per Sportsrageous). USA Today reported that Iman Shumpert was arrested for suspicion of DUI back in September, and once that became public knowledge, the ball started rolling on NBA trade rumors that had Cleveland dealing Shumpert.
All of this leaves us with a lot of circumstantial evidence of a potential trade involving the Cavaliers (Iman Shumpert and/or Mo Williams) and the Sixers (Nerlens Noel). The question now is this: how feasible is the seven-player, three draft pick trade being discussed on the internet that includes both teams and all three of these players? Once we get into the nuts and bolts of this proposed deal, the answer to that question becomes very clear.
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The first problem with this NBA trade rumor is the inclusion of Alan Anderson, who will not be trade-eligible until December 15 after signing a one-year, $1.3 million contract with the Clippers in August. The second problem relates to Jamal Crawford, who also signed a new deal with Los Angeles this summer (three years, $42 million). The NBA Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) stipulates that Crawford cannot be traded until January 15, 2017, so his presence in this rumored trade proposal would not be allowed under NBA rules.
Let’s say for a moment that this trade would still be of interest to the Cavs, Clippers, and Sixers once Anderson and Crawford were both eligible to be traded after January 15, 2017. In that hypothetical instance, the structure of this deal would continue to get a thumbs down from the NBA league office. When analyzing the salaries of the seven players mentioned, they are not balanced enough among the three teams to make this a legal trade — so even with some assumptions thrown in, this NBA trade rumor appears to have no basis in fact.
It is entirely possible that Nerlens Noel or Iman Shumpert could be dealt by their respective teams at some point this season, but the three-team deal currently making waves in the rumor mill will not be the trade that makes that happen. It is very reasonable to conclude that Philadelphia should be looking to ship out one of their young centers, and Iman Shumpert could be on thin ice in Cleveland after his DUI arrest and J.R. Smith’s recent return to the team. But in this particular case, none of those suppositions add up to an imminent trade between the Cleveland Cavaliers, Philadelphia 76ers, and Los Angeles Clippers.
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