Nerlens Noel may be on his way out of Philadelphia, and it might be a dream come true for our favorite flat-top shot block specialist.
With a front court consisting of Noel, Jahlil Okafor, Dario Saric, Ben Simmons, and Joel Embiid, but little to no talent at the guard position, it’s obvious a move has to be made sooner rather than later for the Sixers. Philadelphia executive Jerry Colangelo recently came out and said he would “absolutely not” be comfortable heading into the season with such a congested front court.
The two names being thrown around most often as trade options are Jahlil Okafor and Nerlens Noel, both of which maintaining nice value throughout the league. Though Okafor had an impressive rookie season and proved himself on the offensive end of the floor, Noel fits the modern NBA style of play with his ability to run the floor and elite defensive presence in the post, and thus may be the more sought-after of the two.
On late Wednesday night, Noel tweeted this, sparking rumors and speculation about his possible interest in the Boston Celtics:
I'm blessed to be from Boston. Love my city.
— Nerlens Noel (@NerlensNoel3) August 11, 2016
He’s from Boston (Everett, Massachusetts), and was in town for a Drake and Future concert, so it didn’t seem to amount to anything for the time being. In a matter of hours, however, Noel changed his Twitter avi from he in a Sixers jersey to a blank, black image. His cover photo was then changed from the Philadelphia city line to the generic blue Twitter stock background.
CSNNE’s A. Sherrod Blakely believes Noel’s latest Twitter changes aren’t just coincidence.
Who refers to the team they play for as “current?”
A player who wisely suspects that “current” label will become “former” sooner rather than later.
Noel has not asked for a trade, but multiple league sources told CSNNE.com that he is “very open” to being traded if the Sixers decide to make that decision.
Another league source contacted by CSNNE.com on Thursday morning indicated that the Celtics still have a high level of interest in Noel but no deal is imminent.
Celtics’ GM and President Danny Ainge reportedly tried trading for Noel in last year’s NBA Draft according to Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times:
The executives said the Celtics were looking to trade point guard Marcus Smart and the Nos. 16 and 28 picks in the first round to Philadelphia for center/forward Nerlens Noel and the No. 3 pick. But the 76ers, the executives said, weren’t interested.
During this year’s draft, ESPN’s Marc Stein reported a deal was on the table between the Celtics and Sixers involving the third overall pick and Noel, but it eventually fell through.
ESPN sources say Philadelphia is offering Nerlens Noel, No. 24 and No. 26 in tonight's draft and Robert Covington for Boston's No. 3 pick
— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) June 23, 2016
Two consecutive years, two efforts to trade for the former Wildcat. Though a trade never went through, it’s obvious there’s mutual interest between both parties. Noel is from the area, grew up cheering for the Celtics, and has major respect for Brad Stevens and what he has done for the organization. Boston is just a few pieces away from major contention, have been looking for a low-post defensive threat for years now, and have the money to re-sign Noel when he becomes a restricted free agent next summer.
Noel would be a dream come true in the front court for the Celtics to match with Al Horford. Horford can go back to playing the position he’s most comfortable with at the four, and the C’s would have a dominant low post defensive presence in Noel. With Avery Bradley, Jae Crowder, Marcus Smart, Amir Johnson, Jaylen Brown, and Al Horford already in fold, Noel would make Boston one of the best defensive talents in the NBA.
Noel grew up a Boston Celtics fan, and it’s entirely possible he’ll be suiting up in green pretty soon.
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