Dallas Mavericks Make Big Splash By Landing Philadelphia 76ers’ Nerlens Noel

And just like that, the Philadelphia 76ers have traded away one of their bigs. The surprising part? It wasn’t Jahlil Okafor, the player who has been on the market for quite some time now, and the player many expected to be dealt at the NBA trade deadline.

According to ESPN, the 76ers are sending Nerlens Noel to the Dallas Mavericks.

Noel is averaging 8.9 points and five rebounds per game in the 2016-17 NBA season. The 6-foot-11 power forward was drafted No. 6 overall in the 2013 NBA Draft. He’s athletic, has shot-blocking abilities (to say the least), and he is only 22-years-old.

While it might not be a surprise to see Philadelphia shipping away one of its bigs, a Noel trade has some shocking elements attached to it. With that said, the 76ers had too many talented, young bigs, and at least one of them apparently had to go.

Also on the team is Ben Simmons, who has yet to play a game but was drafted No. 1 overall in last summer’s draft, Joel Embiid, who has future superstar written all over him despite some injuries early on in his career, and Jahlil Okafor, who might not be the best defensive player this game has ever seen, but has the talent to be one of the best scoring bigs in the game.

Now, while Noel has been dealt to the Mavericks, that does not mean Okafor is safe — well, when it comes to him being traded, that is.

In fact, a deal involving Andrew Bogut and Okafor might be a real possibility.

While a deal has not been made for Okafor yet, and the deadline is looming, Okafor could provide an instant scoring threat for any team in the league. The guy averaged 17.5 points per contest as a rookie, after all. As a second-year player, the Duke product is only putting up 11.4 points per game. Of course, his minutes have dropped this season (from 30 per game to 23 per game).

Okafor helped lead the Blue Devils to a national championship victory in his lone season in college hoops. He was drafted No. 3 overall in the 2015 NBA Draft.

[Image by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images]

With the deadline looming, the rumors are running wild, and that will likely be the case until the clock strikes zero.

Nonetheless, the Noel trade has been the biggest deal of the deadline so far. While it remains to be seen if Noel will become a serious scoring threat, he, of course, has the goods on the defensive side of the ball (Noel is averaging 1.6 blocks per game for his career). As a result, he should be a starter on Day 1 with his new team, the Dallas Mavericks.

At the time of writing, Philadelphia holds a 21-35 record while Dallas stands at 22-34. While both squads could use a serious winning streak right about now, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see either team making a run at a playoff spot. With that in mind, Noel is a big loss for the 76ers. Not only this season but in future seasons as well. Reminder: He is only 22-years-old.

[Image by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images]

Of course, Philadelphia will look much different once Simmons is back from injury. If Simmons becomes the star that his talents would suggest, and if Embiid continues to look like one of the best young players in the game, then Philadelphia will be competing for playoff spots — and then some — for years to come.

While the Mavericks have already made quite the splash on deadline day, there will likely be other big-name players involved in trades as the day moves along. As a result, fans can look forward to more madness going down on deadline day.

[Featured Image by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images]

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