By: Alex Sommerfield
A month after most free agents have signed their deals the one who came out of college with a flat top has yet to do the same.
The former Kentucky Wildcat, Philadelphia 76er, and for now former Dallas Maverick is still a free agent. Last week Noel fired his agent, opting to join Klutch Sports who represents clients such as LeBron James and Dejounte Murray. Today Noel turned down $17.5 million per year from the Mavericks. It sounds like Noel is holding out for a max deal, something he hasn’t really proven himself of yet. He more belongs in the category of the deals that Kent Bazemore got last summer, 4 years $80 million.
The Mavs had made re-signing Noel a priority after trading for him before the deadline last season. I would personally like to see him go back to Philadelphia where he started his career, a place he would have a better chance to contending, a place where he could return to the nice young core of players he started after sliding on draft night because of a knee injury at Kentucky. The Pelicans selected Noel and traded him to the Sixers. Unbeknownst to Sixers fans at the time but this was the start of the famous “Process”. In other words, the Sixers tanking, drafting the best available prospect which was always a big guy and eventually becoming an attractive destination for free agents after acquiring enough young very talented players through the draft.
Last season, Noel’s improved his scoring and rebounding per 36 minutes, but his blocks which he had become so famous for at Kentucky were down. Noel ranked 83rd in the league last season in rebounds and 20th in blocks per 36 minutes. Those don’t really scream out max contract.
Nerlens Noel will be paid nicely during this up coming season, by who and where he will be playing remains to be seen. He will be 23 years young at the start of the 2017-2018 season, his best years are head of him, but he might have to wait until his third contract to get that max deal. Although it could be worse, he could be Anthony Bennett.