Nerlens Noel Trade Rumors: Latest News, Speculation Surrounding 76ers Star

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured Columnist

Philadelphia 76ers forward Nerlens Noel (4) in action during an NBA basketball game against the Boston Celtics, Sunday, March 20, 2016, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Laurence Kesterson)
Laurence Kesterson/Associated Press

Philadelphia 76ers big man Nerlens Noel continues to surface in trade rumors, despite the organization improving with its selection of Ben Simmons with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2016 NBA draft. Noel has been linked to several playoff-contending teams.

Continue for updates.

Colangelo Responds to Noel's Comments On Trade Rumors

Monday, Sept. 26

"It's understandable," 76ers general manger Bryan Colangelo told reporters. "I think Nerlens did a pretty good job sizing up what we had."

"These are all young players not in a position to dictate circumstances," Colangelo added.

"I know I was shopped," Noel said on Sunday, per the Philadelphia Inquirer's Keith Pompey, who reported, "A source said that the Sixers turned down several offers for Noel." Pompey provided more from Noel:

I think it's just silly...this situation that we are in now with three starting centers. With the departure of [former general manager and president] Sam Hinkie, I would have figured that management would be able to get something done this summer. ...

I feel like it definitely needs to be figured out. I think at the end of the day, again, you have three starting-caliber centers. And it's just not going to work to anybody's advantage having that on the same team. That's how I'm looking at it. I'm not opposed to anything, but things need to be situated. ...

Don't get me wrong. We all get along great on the court and off the court. But at the end of the day, it's like having three starting quarterbacks. It doesn't make any sense.

76ers Still Interested in Moving Big Man

Wednesday, Sept. 7

Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical reported the 76ers have had talks throughout the summer regarding a trade of Noel or center Jahlil Okafor. They plan to eventually trade one of the big men because they don't believe their talents complement each other.

In an interview on May 27 on 97.3 ESPN South Jersey (h/t Kyle Neubeck of SB Nation's Liberty Ballers), ESPN's NBA draft expert Chad Ford said it is likely the Sixers will trade Noel or Okafor before the 2016-17 season:

I think that there's a very high likelihood, that whether it's to move up in the draft or use them to grab a free agent in a sign and trade or just to a trade, that you will not see the Nerlens Noel-Jahlil Okafor pairing at the start of next season. I think that they'll gauge the interest of both players. I think that there might be a slight preference for Noel, to keep him around with the Sixers, and I think you might be right, there might be a slight, better value for Okafor out on the market, but I think everyone agrees that that combination of those two players doesn't necessarily work.

Celtics Remain Interested in Noel

Thursday, Aug. 11

A. Sherrod Blakely of reported, citing a league source, that the Boston Celtics have "a high level of interest in Noel, but no deal is imminent." Blakely added that Noel "has not asked for a trade" but is "very open" to a deal if the 76ers decide to move on.

ESPN's Marc Stein reported on June 23 that a Noel trade was looking "more and more likely," adding that the 76ers were "ramping up" their efforts to acquire the No. 3 overall pick in the 2016 draft from the Celtics. The Celtics eventually held onto the pick and selected Jaylen Brown.

Colangelo Comments on Trade Rumors

Wednesday, July 13

Colangelo spoke with SiriusXM NBA Radio regarding the team's big men, including Noel, Okafor and Joel Embiid, and their futures with the organization:

Raptors Reportedly Contacted 76ers About Noel

Wednesday, June 29 

Zach Lowe of reported the Toronto Raptors have "already approached Philly about a deal sending out a rotation player—perhaps Terrence Ross, and other goodies—in exchange for [Noel], who could then assume Biyombo's backup center role, according to league sources."

Rockets Interested in Noel

Thursday, June 23

Jake Fischer of Sports Illustrated reported the Houston Rockets contacted the 76ers with a package involving Trevor Ariza and Patrick Beverley for Noel.

Givony: Noel Trade Market 'Overstated'

Thursday, June 23

Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress reported the "market for [Noel] seems to be far overstated by some. More likely he fetches a late lottery pick in a trade as opposed to top-five pick."

Pelicans Linked to Noel

Wednesday, June 22

Jon Johnson of 94 WIP SportsRadio reported the New Orleans Pelicans have been in contact with Philadelphia about Noel.

76ers, Hawks Reportedly Discussing Trade Involving Noel

Thursday, June 2

The Vertical's Shams Charania reported, according to a source, the Atlanta Hawks and 76ers discussed a deal involving Noel and point guard Jeff Teague.

Noel, Okafor's Contrasting Styles Lead to Trade Debate

The Sixers selected 6'10" forward Ben Simmons with the top pick, and the potential return of Embiid from injury and arrival of Dario Saric would create an even bigger logjam in the paint.

Noel missed his rookie season because of a knee injury, and after returning to play in 2014-15, he had the best campaign of his career in 2015-16.

The 6'11" star averaged 11.1 points per game and led the Sixers with 8.1 rebounds and 1.8 steals per contest.

Okafor led the team with 17.5 points per game as a rookie, but Ford believes Philly may favor keeping Noel over Okafor partly due to the notion that the latter could land more on the trade market.

Noel has just one year remaining until he becomes a restricted free agent, while Okafor is under team control until 2019.

The former Kentucky standout is far superior to Okafor from a defensive standpoint, though, and dangling Okafor may allow the Sixers to acquire a dynamic scoring guard, which is something they have lacked for years.

Regardless of which big the 76ers decide to trade, they will be dealing from a position of strength. Both Noel and Okafor have a chance to become stars in different respects, but with Simmons, Embiid and Saric looming, there may not be enough room for both players.


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