While our old friend Nerlens Noel sits in free agency limbo, a little nugget about the process behind his departure emerged this morning. Another team has been named as one of the franchises involved in trade discussions for the former Sixers center: the Brooklyn Nets.
That’s according to Zach Lowe, who wrote a long and fascinating piece about Brooklyn’s attempt to build from the ground up. Here’s what he had to say regarding a potential Noel swap with Brooklyn (with the setup referencing the deal they made to acquire D’Angelo Russell):
You won't find a better candidate on a rookie contract the Nets might have targeted with Lopez and their willingness to digest an unwanted mega-deal (Timofey Mozgov's). Under-22 high-lottery talents with solid NBA track records rarely become available -- particularly point guards. Jusuf Nurkic looked like a brooding beast before Portland rescued him. The Sixers and Nets had brief talks surrounding Nerlens Noel, but Brooklyn made it clear it would not trade much for anyone it could pursue in free agency, league sources say.
It’s not breaking any news to say the Sixers called teams around the league to gauge interest in Noel and Jahlil Okafor, and got a few offers they weren’t satisfied with, reported or otherwise. Brooklyn made a lot of sense as a partner for any young player with talent, because they also had the cap room to offer big-money extensions to guys this offseason. In fact, the looming threat of Brooklyn was something we mentioned often in our coverage of the Noel and Okafor trade talks, as a possible reason to move him sooner rather than later.
I’m not even sure what the Sixers could have gotten back for Noel. They’re not really in a position to trade any of their semi-interesting young players, nor do they have any good draft assets to move. I suppose that explains why the talks were “brief.”
The other, broader point of interest in Lowe’s column involves the Nets, and a possible change to the league’s rules that resulted from their ineptitude.
Razumov has only one regret about the infamous deal: giving the Celtics a last-minute concession to swap picks with Brooklyn in 2017 -- the draft between two others in which Boston would own Brooklyn's pick outright. "We miscalculated in the heat of the moment," Razumov said. "But we were all excited. [Former GM Billy King] may have had doubts, but they were not spoken."
The league has since discussed banning pick swaps between drafts in which a team already owes its pick to other teams; the tweak has been on the competition committee agenda, but has not been debated yet at length, sources say.
Not even the Kings have been able to inspire a rule change through their trade fuckery, so let’s all take a moment to laugh at Billy King, as if any of you needed an excuse to do so anyway.