Mavericks Acquire Nerlens Noel from 76ers
With the trade deadline looming at 3pm Eastern on Thursday, teams around the NBA are scrambling to make any final tweaks to their rosters before the end of the regular season. The Philadelphia 76ers have been saddled with a surplus of big men all season long, and they have reportedly alleviated that concern a bit.
According to The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Sixers have sent disgruntled big man Nerlens Noel to the Dallas Mavericks in exchange for swingman Justin Anderson, center Andrew Bogut and a heavily-protected 2017 first-round draft pick.
What is Dallas getting in Noel?
Noel has missed lots of time this season with a few injuries, but even when healthy his minutes have been cut in light of the emergence of Joel Embiid in Philadelphia. With Embiid, Dario Saric and Ben Simmons all in tow, it felt inevitable that the Sixers would look to cash-in on Noel and center Jahlil Okafor.
In 29 games so far this season, Noel is averaging 8.9 points, 5.0 rebounds, 1.0 assists and just under a block per game. He is averaging less than 20 minutes per game, and he publicly voiced his displeasure at his lack of playing time earlier in the year.
Despite having been hampered by injuries early in his career, Noel has emerged as a legitimate rim-protector that can play either frontcourt spot. His offensive game still needs some fine tuning, but his combination of defense and rebounding makes him an ideal fit for the modern NBA.
What about the 76ers’ haul?
On the surface, it does not appear as though Philly got full value in return for a player as talented as Noel. Justin Anderson has shown flashes in his first season-and-a-half with Dallas, but until he can start consistently knocking down shots he is going to have a tough time laying claim to a consistent rotation spot.
Bogut was only included in the deal to make the money work, and reports indicate that he will likely be rerouted and have a new home by the time the day is done. If a trade partner cannot be found, ESPN’s Marc Stein says the 76ers will likely seek a buyout with Bogut.
The pick heading to Philadelphia is protected 1-18 in the upcoming draft. That pick is unlikely to convey to the Sixers this year, though no reports as of yet indicate whether any protections exist for the pick in 2018 and beyond.
Mavs moving forward
This looks like a solid deal for a Mavericks team that finally has cast an eye toward the post-Dirk Nowitzki era. Things were looking relatively bleak early in the season, but a core of Noel, Harrison Barnes, Seth Curry and whomever they wind up with in the upcoming draft looks fairly respectable moving forward. They still lack the superstar likely necessary to compete with the league’s elite, but the Dallas front office has done an admirable job of cobbling this group together on the fly.
Noel will be a restricted free agent this summer, and Dallas is expected to attempt to lock him into a new, long-term contract.
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