Rumors about the pending availability of 76ers power forward Nerlens Noel have been circulating all season as the logjam of power forwards and centers in Philadelphia becomes ever more acute. According to Basketball Insiders Editor Steve Kyler, the Raptors are one of very few teams looking at the 76ers big man.
The Philadelphia 76ers have conceded that center Nerlens Noel will not be part of the rotation going forward
While there is some urgency to getting the public dispute resolved, there is not a sense that a trade is close.
There are a couple of teams to watch on the Noel front, the biggest being the Toronto Raptors. It is unlikely that the Raptors mess with their team chemistry in moving a core player, but if the 76ers want some of the Raptors’ young players or non-core parts, Toronto would have interest in Noel, according to sources close to the situation.
The power forward/center was on the All-Rookie First team in 2014-15 and averaged 10.5 points, 8.1 rebounds, 1.8 steals and 1.7 blocks in his first two NBA seasons, however, he lost his place in the rotation to Joel Embiid and Jahil Okafor this year.
The issues with Noel have been injuries, some bad press about his work ethic (may or may not be true) and losing his spot in the rotation to guys that were drafted after him. Clutch Points
“Nerlens Noel in Philly, the research teams have done on him is not good. They don’t get good reports back on their intel, how he’s carried himself there, of his habits. It’s not a great return. There are teams willing to do the deal and bring him in, but they don’t want to give up much.”
Other teams know the 76ers are dealing from a position of weakness and with Noel in the final year of his rookie deal, any team trading for him could lose the big man to an unpalatable offer this summer when he enters restricted free agency.
Toronto could use an upgrade at power forward over the rookie Pascal Siakam, although the very athletic power forward will be tough to let go because of his obvious potential as a rim protector.
If the 76ers are willing to take a couple of the Raptors young players currently out of the rotation, president Masai Ujiri will have trouble saying no and rolling the dice on Noel. Otherwise, the 76ers are likely to be looking elsewhere.