The Philadelphia 76ers are going to unload Nerlens Noel eventually. It may be sooner with Noel becoming disgruntled. The Chicago Bulls and Portland Trailblazers are reportedly kicking the tires on trading for the defensive specialist. A deal can be had if the 76ers are willing to come to a consensus on an asking price, which is something that has prevented them from trading Nerlens Noel thus far.
The 76ers should have moved Noel over the summer when several teams were interested in him. They chose to wait instead. And because of that, it cost them.
After waiting around for the season and wondering whether he would be traded or not, Noel would injure his knee. It was in late October when Noel would have minor surgery (courtesy of the Philadelphia Inquirer) on his knee. While the surgery was just a 10 minute knee scope, it has kept him out of the 76ers’ lineup all season so far.
The longer Nerlens Noel is out, the lower his value becomes. If the Philadelphia 76ers were hoping to get a top draft pick and a quality rotation player, they cannot wait out the process. Any team that is eyeing Noel in a potential trade understands that he will be a restricted free agent at the end of the season. Although the team which acquires Noel would retain the right to offer him a tender offer, it will be difficult to gauge his value in a condensed time period.
That will undoubtedly hamper what the Philadelphia 76ers can demand in a trade. Teams will not be deterred in targeting Noel. They just will not put together the package that the 76ers truly desire.
The Sixers Sense cited that the Chicago Bulls could offer the Philadelphia 76ers forward Nikola Mirotic in a trade.
The Sixers and Bulls swap of Noel for Mirotic makes sense for both teams. It could balance out their rosters a little better if something were to take place. This trade would work because it gives both players a change of scenery.
Nikola Mirotic wants to remain in the NBA, hopefully with the Bulls, according to the Chicago Tribune. The Bulls could trade him because he does not fit the offense they are running.
Mirotic could help the Philadelphia 76ers by being a lead scorer, with some range. On the Bulls he has struggled to find his niche, but on the 76ers things could be different. They have a spot for him.
The same cannot be said for Nerlens Noel. His unhappiness (courtesy of 97.3 ESPN) about not having a role became apparent during NBA training camp.
“I can’t say I do really understand [the waiting]. If you have a group of players, I just don’t think it makes too much sense to just still come into the season with such a heavy lineup at the center position. I don’t know what there is to wait and see.”
To add insult to injury, the 76ers assigned Noel to their NBDL affiliate, the Delaware 87ers, according to Amico Hoops. Going to the 87ers instead of straight to the 76ers only shrinks his value more. It still will not deter teams such as the Bulls and Trailblazers to be interested.
The only way to remedy the situation is for the 76ers to do something. Getting Mirotic from the Bulls would be a good something to do, but the Trailblazers could present a better package for them.
Portland has something that the 76ers need — a do it all shooting guard in Allen Crabbe. While the 76ers would be getting an international star from the Bulls in Nikola Mirotic, getting Crabbe in exchange for Nerlens Noel would give them an integral piece for their future.
Allen Crabbe could blossom into a star someday. Though the best current comparison to him would be former Trailblazers guard Nic Batum. Batum was relegated to defensive specialist duties with the Trailblazers until he was traded to the Charlotte Hornets. Out of the shadows of Damian Lillard, Batum has exploded onto the scene as an excellent 3-and-D player. The same can happen for Crabbe.
For the 76ers, trading for Crabbe gives them an ideal role player who can fit in perfectly with Joel Embiid and the soon to return Ben Simmons. He is not the ball-handler as Nikola Mirotic is, but he is a better overall shooter.
As long as the Philadelphia 76ers get out of their own way and end the bidding war a trade will get made soon. The longer Nerlens Noel remains unhappy, the worse off the 76ers will be. We are closer to the December 15 date where just about anyone can be traded. Look for the Philadelphia 76ers to move Noel around that time.
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