With Philadelphia’s attention centered around Jahlil Okafor trade opportunities, no one really thought a Nerlens Noel trade was in the cards. But a report suggests the Sixers may in fact be moving on from their backup center.
The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski has the details.
Philadelphia is in advanced talks to send Nerlens Noel to the Dallas Mavericks, league sources tell @TheVertical.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojVerticalNBA) February 23, 2017
Philadelphia is sending Nerlens Noel to Dallas for Justin Anderson and a first-round draft pick, league sources tell @TheVertical.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojVerticalNBA) February 23, 2017
Dallas center Andrew Bogut will go to the 76ers in the Noel trade too, league source tells @TheVertical.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojVerticalNBA) February 23, 2017
It’s not yet clear what this means for the possibility of an Okafor deal. In his report on the deal, Woj suggests this means Okafor is hear for the long-term.
“Trading Noel,” says Wojnarowski, “likely means the 76ers will retain Jahlil Okafor to play alongside cornerstone Joel Embiid.”
If that’s to be taken literally, this an apocalyptic mistake from Bryan Colangelo. Pairing Embiid in the front-court together with Okafor resulted in a -21.5 NETRTG over 80 minutes, one of the worst marks for any two-man pairing on the team. Okafor as the backup is one thing (though I still think it’s bad!), but playing Okafor “alongside” Embiid is a concept that should be thrown into a dumpster and launched into outer space.
Bogut’s inclusion suggests big men will either have to be on the move or bought out. David Aldridge is reporting Bogut is a prime candidate to get rerouted as part of a separate (or perhaps larger deal):
Philly likely re-routing Andrew Bogut, just acquired from Dallas w/Justin Anderson & pick for Nerlens Noel. Boston possibility, per source.— David Aldridge (@daldridgetnt) February 23, 2017
The Sixers will not get Dallas’ first round pick this year, as it’s protected 1-18, according to ESPN’s Marc Stein. No word yet on the rollover effect, which is the important information for Sixers fans. This could end up being a fake first, or another trade chip to complete a larger deal.
UPDATE: This is indeed a fake first. Per Zach Lowe:
Sources: If Sixers do not receive Mavs top-18 protected pick this season, it converts to 2 2nd-round picks: Mavs 2nds in 2017 and 2018.— Zach Lowe (@ZachLowe_NBA) February 23, 2017
To add some additional context, Liberty Ballers spoke to multiple sources prior to the season, and was told the Sixers received an offer from Boston involving the Celtics’ own 2018 first rounder.
FWIW: multiple sources told me prior to season starting Sixers had standing offer of first-round pick for Noel from Celtics— Kyle Neubeck (@KyleNeubeck) February 23, 2017
The Boston pick offered for Noel prior to season was for '18 draft, since Celtics pick this year is obviously tied to Nets swap.— Kyle Neubeck (@KyleNeubeck) February 23, 2017
The pick would have been lightly protected, sources told LB. With Dallas’ pick not expected to convey, in effect this means Colangelo ended up taking a worse pick (a first that doesn’t exist) vs. a likely late first because he decided to wait.
This puts an end to the “violence at the rim” era in Philadelphia. Faced with the prospect of paying Noel a considerable chunk of money over the summer, Colangelo elected to get what he could for Noel at the deadline. The dream of 48 minutes of rim protection is dead, at least for now. The desire to move Noel for this package might just be a case of striking while the iron is hot.
I have banged the drum for Noel going on three seasons now, but the writing was always on the wall for him in Philadelphia. Recent developments aside, the Sixers clearly prioritized doing everything to make a Joel Embiid-Okafor pairing work at the beginning of the season, and did not extend the same courtesy to Noel when he returned from elective knee surgery. His contract status and whispers about the Sixers’ unhappiness with behind-the-scenes stuff likely loomed large for Bryan Colangelo.
Justin Anderson is a bit of a wonky fit for the Sixers — he hasn’t shot well from three since he left Virginia, where he shot 45 percent in his final collegiate season — but he’s a worthwhile flier as a do-it-all wing. He was a big part of Dallas’ playoff push during the 2015-16 season, and has a reputation as a stout defender despite sliding on that end this season.
Embiid is sending his friend off the only way he knows how — with Tweets:
Gonna miss my best friend but I'm happy for him... He represented the process since he was here from the start.. One more time>>> Trust It— Joel Embiid (@JoelEmbiid) February 23, 2017
More updates as they become available...