Rumors are swirling that the Philadelphia 76ers are looking to move Nerlens Noel before the trade deadline, which falls on Thursday Feb. 23rd at 3PM EST this season. With a logjam at the center position in Philly and an emerging need for young, talented guards, Noel could very well be the odd man out. What team could use his positional skills and have the assets to pull off a fair trade? Where will Noel go? Only time will tell…
Philadelphia 76ers Nerlens Noel (C/PF)
Born: April 10th, 1994 (22 years old), Malden, MA
Height: 6’ 11”
Weight: 228 lbs
Skills: rebounding, rim-protection (shot blocking), defense, transition speed
Over the summer, Danny Ainge, the Celtics General Manager (GM), signed Al Horford to a generous four-year $113 million contract in hopes of solving their rebounding issue. Horford is averaging a total of 6.7 rebounds per game, a career-low, and has naturally transitioned into a stretch-four big after developing a more consistent 3-point shot. Though he has played a pivotal role in boosting the Celtics in the Eastern Conference Standings to 2nd place, right behind defending champion Cleveland Cavaliers, the Celtics are still one of the worst rebounding teams in the league- currently ranked at 27th in rebounds per game.
Rumor has it that the Celtics were involved in trade discussions over Serge Ibaka, but the Raptors (currently 3rd place in the Eastern Conference) succeeded in negotiations and landed the big man. Ibaka struggled to carve out a clear-cut role with the Orlando Magic after being traded there in the offseason in a deal which saw Victor Oladipo make his way to the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Raptors got Ibaka shortly after hearing that Kevin Love, one of Cleveland’s star players, has been sidelined for at least six weeks with a knee injury.
The trade deadline is approaching quickly, so if the Celtics want to upgrade their roster in order to better compete with the NBA elites (especially in the paint), they must act soon.
Nerlens Noel grabbed 8.1 rebounds per game in his first two seasons, averaging about 30 minutes per game. This season, he’s been reduced to a frustrating bench role averaging 19 minutes per game. Nerlens Noel is averaging 9.3 RPG per 36 minutes, but he has only averaged 4.9 RPG with his minutes restriction. At this point in time, it is unclear if Noel will be a part of the 76ers’ future, and GM Bryan Colangelo is looking to find a deal that satisfies both parties.
For the Celtics, who better to acquire than the 76ers’ disgruntled big man, Nerlens Noel? Colangelo is looking for potential suitors for a fair deal to process as Noel will be an unrestricted free agent this summer. The Celtics have a plethora of young talents and the second-most assets (right after the 76ers) in the NBA. One question remains, however: who/what do the 76ers want in return to make it a fair deal?
Though the Celtics love Terry Rozier, it looks like they would have to give him up in order for this deal to be processed. One of the best rookies in the summer league, Rozier is starting to gain a consistent role on the squad, making up for the loss of Evan Turner in the offseason. On defense, he is very active with his hands and feet and is able to move quickly to get in front of defenders. His athleticism is put on display when he grabs tough rebounds with his leaping ability. His passing and shooting are improving thanks to his strong work ethic and passion for the game.
A trade paired with James Young, who has been valuable off the bench as of late, should work out.
Hollinger’s analysis does not predict a change in wins for either team, but as both teams are receiving young talent and don’t have the room to grow these players further, it would be the perfect trade. If either team is stingy, they both have enough picks to sweeten the deal.
This trade works in ESPN’s trade machine, but if you have a better idea like the possibility of a Jahlil Okafor move instead of Noel, I would love to know in the comments below!
It’s no secret that Noel’s hometown is Everett, MA, close to a fifteen minute drive away from TD Garden, home of the Boston Celtics. On social media, Noel has shown love for the city of Boston and its sports, routing for the New England Patriots and even admitting that he grew up as a Celtics fan. The Celtics are in dire need of a rebounding big to better contend for a championship and the 76ers need talented young guards in exchange, or else they risk losing Noel in free agency.