Ever since he has been drafted, Nerlens Noel has been no stranger to trade talks. Now that Joel Embiid is back and playing at a high level, the chances that Noel gets traded is even higher. There is a log jam in the Philly frontcourt, and they’ve been toying with the idea of shipping off either Noel or Okafor. Noel is currently stashed on the sidelines with a knee injury, and that makes him a prime trade candidate.
Noel is an interesting prospect, he is a lengthy big man who can run the floor and uses his athletic ability to finish around the rim. He has career averages of 10.5 PPG, 8.1 RBG, and shows of his ability to protect the rim with 1.7 blocks per game. He hasn’t exactly been a good fit in Philadelphia and could potentially put up better numbers if given the right situation. There are many teams in the league who would love to have him on their roster if the opportunity to trade for him became available.
Noel has yet to appear in a game this season after electing to undergo arthroscopic knee surgery last month, but word is he’d still prefer to be shipped to a new address with so many big men to battle for playing time in Philly. Count on the Sixers to accommodate him eventually.
1. Boston Celtics
The Celtics have been interested in trading for Okafor or Noel for some time now, and nobody should expect that to change anytime soon. The Celtics have a plethora of young assets they can trade away in an effort to entice the Sixers to pull the trigger on a deal. They have guys like Marcus Smart, Avery Bradley, and Jaylen Brown. They also have a chance at swapping draft picks with the Brooklyn Nets, and they can send that pick to the sixers as well.
The Celtics are figuring to be a team looking to challenge the Cavaliers and Raptors for the top spot in the conference. Boston has one of the best defensive teams in the league, and a young star in Isaiah Thomas.
However, the Celtics have been missing firepower in the frontcourt. They made an effort to address that need in the offseason by adding Al Horford, but making a move to add a big man who runs the floor and play alongside Big Al can really benefit Boston’s offense and strengthen their interior defense with the shot blocking ability of Noel.
2. Sacramento Kings
The Sacramento Kings are in trouble. They’ve been in trouble for years, and unless they manage their current situation well, they will be in trouble for the future years as well. Aside from Demarcus Cousins, they have not been drafting relatively well. They’ve been a losing team throughout their best players’ career, and they are on the verge of losing him.
Cousins is unhappy in Sacramento, he is set to be a free agent next summer (2017-18) and will very likely explore his options on free agent market during that offseason.
This puts the Kings in a very interesting situation, with a very tough decision to make. They need to decide if they should trade the young superstar, or risk losing him for nothing in the offseason due to free agency. If they want to keep DeMarcus Cousins, they should try to add a better player around him. They can offer Ben McLemore and the future pick for Nerlens Noel.
3. Houston Rockets
Houston lost Dwight Howard in the offseason when he decided to return to his hometown and play for the Atlanta Hawks. Now the Rockets frontcourt is left with a huge hole at the center spot. Clint Capela is an interesting young player and has been showing flashes of success and improvement when pairing with James Harden to run the pick and roll.
However, the Rockets still need some frontcourt firepower. If they were to trade for Nerlens Noel, they would get a young star to pair with Harden and add much-needed talent to the frontcourt.
This trade would be beneficial to Nerlens Noel because Houston is the perfect situation for his style of play. Mike D’Antoni up-tempo offense is an offensive system that Noel could flourish in. If Houston can pull off a trade without losing Capela, he and Noel could form an interesting and very exciting frontcourt tandem.