Nerlens Noel signed a one-year, $4.18 million contract with the Dallas Mavericks last offseason with the hope that he could land a maximum deal as an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2018. However, after missing the most of the 2017-18 NBA season due to injury and not receiving enough opportunity to play, Noel may have a hard time finding a team who is willing to give him a huge payday.
To make things more complicated, Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer revealed that the Mavericks are keeping an eye on other incoming free agent big men like DeMarcus Cousins, DeAndre Jordan, and Julius Randle, hinting the possibility that they could just let Nerlens Noel walk away in the upcoming offseason. With a maximum contract no longer within reach, Frank Urbina of HoopsHype suggested that Noel should consider signing a cheap deal with a team that can give him an opportunity to prove himself once again in the league.
One of the potential landing spots for Noel in free agency is the Golden State Warriors. The Warriors entered the season with a plethora of big men on their roster, but as Urbina noted, Golden State is at risk of losing four centers on their roster this summer – David West, Zaza Pachulia, JaVale McGee and Kevon Looney.
West and Pachulia have reportedly considered a retirement after this season, while McGee and Looney could end up joining other NBA teams for a better paying situation. This could be the perfect opportunity for Nerlens Noel to join a team that can give him the chance to revive his NBA career, and at the same time, win his first NBA championship title. Being buried deep in the luxury tax hell, the Warriors could only offer Noel the taxpayer mid-level exception, worth $5.3 million.
“With his quick hands, quicker feet, shot-blocking instincts and finishing ability in the paint, Noel could be a good fit on a Golden State team with so much firepower that opportunities open up for lower-level players are able to shine. Just look at what they’ve been able to do to revive McGee’s career. It’s not difficult to envision a similar revitalization occurring for Noel, who, as we’ve covered, is still young, and still has plenty of potentials to offer.”
Nerlens Noel could boost the Warriors in terms of rim protection and rebounding, something Golden State has been missing since they were forced to part ways with Andrew Bogut. Playing alongside four NBA All-Stars will greatly help Noel in proving his worth as a former sixth overall pick like what happened to two-time Shaqtin’ A Fool MVP JaVale McGee.