And so, the deadline of extending Nerlens Noel’s contract has come and gone, leaving the team and the player on a date with separate destinies. But is that good for the player, or the team?
Bryan Colangelo may not think so. I’m not sure I think so either.
Right now, the team is at a vulnerable and fragile part of the season. Build with positives, and the challenges of the new season forge a team. Build a team with negatives, and the challenges of this new season can rip the team apart.
Jun 24, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia 76ers president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo during an introduction press conference at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Trade Winds Are Picking Up
The only logical resolution to this matter now falls upon the Philadelphia 76ers front office. Some trades are meant to improve the team going forward, while other trades are merely designed to back a team out of a bad or even no-win situation.
The Philadelphia 76ers are dangerously close to the latter.
Perhaps it was a calculated risk that failed? Perhaps it was the elation of taking over the helm of an NBA team with plenty of assets? Whatever the case, the initial message of Bryan Colangelo upon arriving to the Philadelphia 76ers was to proclaim a desire to trade a center.
The NBA took notice, and then low-balled the team, knowing the ultimate pressure would be upon Colangelo. It seems they were correct.
The 76ers are expectedly in position where the lone true path lies in trading Noel before season’s end. That is not our opinion, but the opinion of an NBA scout who spoke to Sports Illustrated’s “The Crossover”.
In the current tone of the NBA, the resurgence of the big man at the post is truly becoming “a thing” again. Anthony Davis just scored 50 points for the New Orleans Pelicans. While nobody expects Noel to score massive quantities, he does impose his will at the hoop and is an ideal center for a small ball lineup. He is extremely versatile, which makes him an ideal trade asset. The only items left are a trade partner, and compensation. Let’s discuss the latest NBA Rumors?
Apr 12, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Raptors center Jonas Valanciunas (17) blocks Philadelphia 76ers center Nerlens Noel (4) from shooting in the first half at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
Arthur Hill of Hoops Rumors is on board with this scenario. In a recent mailbag storyline, he was asked about the Raptors need at power forward. He responded:
Greg Monroe in Milwaukee is an obvious target. Another is the Sixers’ Nerlens Noel. A longer shot might be Zach Randolph, who has already been demoted to a reserve role in Memphis and is headed toward free agency. Any of them would make the Raptors a bigger threat to Cleveland in the East.”
While that is a far cry from active negotiations, it’s likely that the teams have talked and will continue to discuss the probability of making the trade. In the past, the Raptors were rumored to have been very close to this trade by offering Terrence Ross. Since Ross would likely be considered less than fair market value, the Raptors could spice up the deal with a trade including both Terrance Ross and one of two first round picks: their own, or that of the Los Angeles Clippers (1-14 protected).
With a deeper draft next year, the Philadelphia 76ers would look long and hard at this scenario. Meanwhile, the Toronto Raptors would get a very versatile rim-protector who could start either at center or power forward for the team, is athletic enough to play in post season, and is young enough to remain a factor of the team for years to come.
Sep 26, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia 76ers forward Nerlens Noel (4) dribbles the ball during media day at the Philadelphia 76ers Training Complex. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
NBA Rumor Two: Nerlens Noel To Portland Trailblazers
This one recently was reported in an ESPN summary by Marc Stein. In an article where the reader must fill in the blanks, Stein does a nice job of placing the jigsaw pieces at the readers’ fingertips, but never forces the trade scenario.
In item six, he visits the status of the Portland Trailblazers, and lists a series of meaning player assets on the roster:
6. Portland is the surest team to make a trade this season.
The suspicion among numerous league observers is that the Blazers’ non-stop spending this past offseason was asset collection as much as anything. Scan through all those names again and it’s clear Portland has no shortage of options to thrust itself into all kinds of trade talks as GM Neil Olshey continues to shape the roster around backcourt bedrocks Lillard and C.J. McCollum.
He then lists Nerlens Noel as a player likely to be dealt this year.
We know the Philadelphia 76ers are 0-2, and the team must be disappointed in the play of wings Gerald Henderson and Robert Covington so far. Could the team target one of the Trailblazers wings in a trade scenario? We know that the team was interested in Alan Crabbe in the offseason. The way the team has started the 2016-2017 season would only heighten that interest. Crabbe is currently scoring 13.3 points per game, which would place him as the second leading scorer on the 76ers.
Dec 20, 2015; Cleveland, OH, USA; Philadelphia 76ers forward Nerlens Noel (4) drives against Cleveland Cavaliers forward James Jones (1) during the fourth quarter at Quicken Loans Arena. The Cavs won 108-86. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
NBA Rumor Three: Cleveland Cavaliers Showing Interest In Nerlens Noel
The Cleveland Cavaliers are the favorites to repeat as NBA champions this year. However, they recognize the moves made by the Golden State Warriors in the off-season, and have as yet failed to counter move.
While that may not generate much interest from the 76ers, the Cavaliers could offer their first round pick of the 2017 NBA Draft as well. Another combination may be to include shooting guard Jordon McRae in the package deal.
The trade proposal being reported online is a seven-player swap that would net the Cavaliers center Nerlens Noel and shooting guard Jamal Crawford. The Clippers would receive shooting guard Iman Shumpert, power forward Jerami Grant, and a future first-round draft choice. The 76ers’ part of this trade would feature shooting guard Jordan McRae, small forward Alan Anderson, the contract of Mo Williams, and future first and second-round draft picks.
There are formidable challenges to this scenario. Neither Jordan McRae nor Alan Anderson offer much to the Philadelphia 76ers rebuild, so the value to the team would likely be in the draft picks received. Since the only draft pick available in the 2017 NBA draft pick to either team would be the first round pick of the Cavaliers, this trade will likely remain just a storyline.