NBA Trade Rumors: Trailblazers, Raptors Among Favorites To Land Nerlens Noel

Will there be a Nerlens Noel trade taking place soon? If so, where will the Philadelphia 76ers’ center be playing in March?

According to some of the NBA trade rumors that are circulating, the Portland Trailblazers and Toronto Raptors are among the favorites to land the rim-protecting big man. Ironically, a Nerlens Noel trade seems to be gaining steam, while losing momentum at the same time. And believe it or not, that is a legitimate possibility.

According to Basketball Insiders’ Steve Kyler, Nerlens Noel is likely to remain out of the 76ers’ frontcourt rotation for now. Which means that most signs are pointing in the direction of a trade on the horizon. Most teams could use a defensive-minded player, including Philadelphia, although there is a strong chance that the 76ers are keeping him on the sidelines to prevent an injury. Plenty of teams are rumored to have inquired about him. And it is building up to a possible Nerlens Noel trade happening soon.

Just because a Nerlens Noel trade is likely on the horizon, it does not mean that momentum is bubbling over. In fact, it is quite the opposite. Noel has been rumored to be on the NBA trading block for months now.

Nerlens Noel has improved his offense, but is it enough for an NBA team to offer a huge haul to get him? [Image by Andy Lyons/Getty Images]

It was in late May when ESPN reported that the Philadelphia 76ers were exploring trade overtures for not only Nerlens Noel, but Jahlil Okafor as well. A few months later, Noel winds up having minor knee surgery (courtesy of CSN Philadelphia) which would cost him the beginning of the season. Because Nerlens Noel has a torn ACL in his injury history, it would not come as a surprise if some of the teams that initially had interest, balked at the idea of trading for him. Especially if the 76ers are asking for a lot in return.

Nerlens Noel is a good player, with upside. Coming into the NBA, the knock on Noel was his scoring ability. As for his defense, most scouts considered him to be an advanced player in that department. Noel’s skill as a rim protector garnered him a spot in the 76ers’ lineup once he was cleared to play.

Noel’s offense has improved to the point where he is not a liability on that end of the floor. Is he worthy of two first round draft picks? That is up for a serious debate.

Unless a team was virtually guaranteed to have a couple of late first round choices, the Boston Celtics for example, no one is going to give up as much. Prior to the NBA training camps began, or at the early stages of the offseason it would make for a different resolution. Teams with young talent and players that are rotational fits for the 76ers makes sense when it comes to completing a Nerlens Noel trade. This is what makes the Portland Trailblazers and Toronto Raptors the favorites to land Noel.

Both the Trailblazers and Raptors have a combination of young talent and solid players. Each team can put together a solid package to complete a Nerlens Noel trade centering around a late draft pick and a player. Plus, both teams need rim protection.

Neither the Trailblazers or Raptors will give the 76ers the original haul in which they sought for Nerlens Noel. At this stage, because of his status as a restricted free agent at the end of the season, Noel is rental player. Had the 76ers not waited for a franchise altering trade offer they would receive more than what they will now.

The Trailblazers and Raptors are in a good position to negotiate, as are the Celtics and Chicago Bulls. Both teams could enter the Nerlens Noel negotiations at some point.

[Featured Image by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images]