Nerlens Noel is set to become an unrestricted free agent next summer after signing the qualifying offer with the Dallas Mavericks in the recent offseason. According to the latest NBA rumors, the Mavericks will trade Noel for a late first-round pick if they have no intention of paying him in 2018 free agency.
After failing to secure a max contract, Nerlens Noel decided to sign the qualifying offer worth $4.1 million to return to Dallas. The Mavericks did their best to have a long-term commitment with Noel, but the young center has a strong belief he’s worth more than $17.5 million per season. As most people think, it would be unwise for the Mavericks to spend a huge chunk of their salary cap on a player who’s yet to prove himself in the league.
His performance in the 2017-18 NBA season will determine if he’s really worth a max contract next summer. If the Mavericks are not willing to pay him, Tom Ziller of SB Nation believes Nerlens Noel will be moved before the February trade deadline.
“Noel’s restricted free agency was completely bizarre, and his decision to sign the qualifying offer clearly angered the Mavericks. Dallas didn’t give up much to land Noel a year ago, and so it can justify flipping him for a low first if it determines in January it doesn’t plan on paying what it requires to keep him in the summer.”
Trading him for a late first-round pick would be a good move for the Mavericks. Nerlens Noel will be a great fit for a title contender team who needs a quality rim protector. Zach Lowe of ESPN suggests that the Mavericks could include Noel in a trade package to acquire DeAndre Jordan of the Los Angeles Clippers. Dallas pursued and almost acquired Jordan when he became a free agent, and it’s possible that they still have interest in the All-Star center.
However, since Noel just signed a contract, the Mavericks will need to wait before he becomes eligible to be traded. The 23-year-old center was impressive in the Mavericks’ 117-111 loss to the Atlanta Hawks, posting 16 points, 11 rebounds, and three blocks in 20 minutes on the floor. If he continues to perform at the same level and stays healthy throughout the season, the Mavericks could change their mind and give him a maximum contract next summer.
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