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NBA Trade Rumors: Pistons' Nerlens Noel Eyed by Blazers, Kings, Heat and Mavs

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVDecember 13, 2022

DETROIT, MI - DECEMBER 1: Nerlens Noel #3 of the Detroit Pistons looks on prior to the game against the Dallas Mavericks on December 1, 2022 at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, Michigan. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2022 NBAE (Photo by Brian Sevald/NBAE via Getty Images)
Brian Sevald/NBAE via Getty Images

The Portland Trail Blazers, Sacramento Kings, Miami Heat and Dallas Mavericks are reportedly among the teams pursuing a trade for Nerlens Noel.

James Edwards III of The Athletic reported Noel and the Detroit Pistons have agreed a separation is "best for both parties."

Noel has spent most of the 2022-23 season out of coach Dwane Casey's rotation, playing in only six games. He's averaging 1.8 points and 3.2 rebounds while shooting a career-worst 30.8 percent from the floor.

The Pistons acquired Noel from the New York Knicks in July as part of a salary dump. Noel is making $9.2 million this season and has a club option at $9.7 million in 2023-24. It would seem unlikely that any team that trades for Noel would pick up that option, barring a re-emergence of him as a defensive force in the middle.

The Kentucky product had a stellar 2020-21 campaign in New York before essentially disappearing for most of the last season and a half. He played in just 25 games last season because of a combination of injuries and Tom Thibodeau's rotation decisions, and Noel has not been able to get consistent playing time from Casey in Detroit.

The Blazers, Kings, Heat and Mavericks all have a need for help in their defensive middle; the biggest issue may be finding a matching contract that works for both parties. It's unlikely Detroit will want to take on future salary beyond this season in any trade, given Noel can come off the books next summer.

Dallas has the only potential one-for-one trade that makes some level of sense, as a Noel-for-Dwight Powell trade works under the salary cap. That said, Powell has started 20 games this season and is a solid rim runner who fits in the Mavericks rotation.

It's more likely Noel will wind up being traded as part of a larger package or bought out if no deal arises by February.