Since NBA free agency season tipped-off with a frenzy on July 1, most of the marquee names have found a new home. One of the few exceptions is former UK big man Nerlens Noel.
Traded from Philadelphia to Dallas near the 2017 season’s trade deadline, Noel was primed to join in on the free agency fun with a ton of money this offseason. Eighteen days later, the restricted free agent has yet to receive the offer he’s looking for.
“We’re very disappointed with where things stand,” Noel’s agent Happy Walters told SportsDay. “Nerlens loves Dallas and spent June there working out, but we’re still waiting on a serious offer.”
The Knicks spent more than $70 million on Tim Hardaway Jr., but the proven rim protector can’t get a good deal. What gives?
There’s no easy answer to the question, but as Yahoo! points out, he’s not alone. Last year a trio of centers with a lesser pedigree received a combined $200 million. Now Noel, Pau Gasol, Mason Plumlee and Alex Len are searching for money that just isn’t there. Teams that needed centers a year ago panicked, leaving little cap room. As the league shifts towards a perimeter focus, true centers have been left behind.
There’s still time for Noel to make the money he deserves, but as a restricted free agent, he has little leverage. His agent is using the press to make something happen, but will it help or hurt the BBN’s favorite flat-topped shot-blocker? Only time will tell.