Nerlens Noel is currently the odd man out in the Dallas Mavericks. Noel’s situation becomes more complicated after receiving a DNP-CD treatment from Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle. Will Noel finish the 2017-18 NBA season as a Maverick?
When the Mavericks acquired Nerlens Noel from the Philadelphia 76ers, most people see him as the center of the future in Dallas. Noel, a former sixth overall pick, showed his potential to become a superstar despite suffering multiple injuries in the past. Unfortunately, like in Philadelphia, playing time remains a major issue for Noel in Dallas.
With Dirk Nowitzki playing as Mavs’ starting center, Nerlens Noel will be needing to battle for the primary backup role with Salah Mejri. The Mavericks’ Saturday night game against the Cleveland Cavaliers showed where Noel stood on their roster. The 23-year-old center received DNP-CD treatment from coach Rick Carlisle, who said that “minutes have to be earned.”
Carlisle explained that a traditional center like Nerlens Noel would have a matchup problem in NBA teams like the Cavaliers. However, Noel believes he can match up on whoever is in front of him. After losing to the Cavaliers, the disgruntled big man only played for two minutes against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
With the current situation, it will not be a surprise if Nerlens Noel starts to find his way out of Dallas. According to Jonathan Tjarks of The Ringer, Noel and the Mavericks could be “headed for an ugly divorce.”
“Nerlens Noel and the Mavericks seem headed for an ugly divorce. Noel turned down a contract extension worth four years and $70 million in the offseason, according to his former agent, and instead signed a one-year qualifying offer that will make him an unrestricted free agent next summer. Both sides said the right things about making their relationship work in training camp, but it has quickly deteriorated this regular season.”
Noel is set to become an unrestricted free agent next summer and expected to demand a max contract. If the Mavericks are not willing to pay him, Noel may consider signing with another team who could give him the playing time he deserves. As most people think, it will be best for the Mavericks to trade him now than lose him in free agency without getting anything in return.
As long as Dirk Nowitzki can play, the Mavericks are unlikely to give the role as starting center to Noel. However, everything could change once Nowitzki decides to retire after playing his 20th NBA season. His retirement will give the Mavericks salary cap flexibility and the chance to start a full-scale rebuild.
[Featured Image by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images]