Among the players eligible for rookie-scale extension until October 31, Nerlens Noel is one of the more interesting candidates. The 22-year-old is a promising rebounder and defender whose offensive game still needs some work, and he also plays for a team whose frontcourt is loaded with young talent. Given the uncertainty surrounding Noel, it makes sense that he and the Sixers have yet to engage in extension negotiations, as Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer reports.
“It’s not really something that we’ve discussed, given some of the concerns that I think Nerlens has had, right now,” Sixers president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo said. “There’s been very little – if any – discussion with his agents about any extension scenarios.”
Noel’s “concerns” that Colangelo mentions likely refer to the comments the big man made at the start of training camp about the Sixers’ logjam at center. Noel called the situation “silly” and expressed surprise that Philadelphia hadn’t made a trade. Presumably, while he’d like to secure a payday, Noel will be reluctant to sign long-term with the Sixers unless he gets a clearer sense of how the team plans to resolve that situation.
If Noel receives certain assurances from the Sixers about the team’s future, perhaps he and the team will open extension negotiations sometime within the next couple weeks. It’s also possible – albeit not particularly likely – that Philadelphia trades him before the October 31 extension deadline, allowing to ink an extension with a new team. That sort of move is rare, but not unprecedented. For instance, the Rockets signed James Harden to a max extension in October 2012, just days after acquiring him from the Thunder.
For now though, it seems as if the most likely scenario for Noel and the Sixers is for Halloween’s extension deadline to pass without a deal, putting Noel on track to become a restricted free agent in 2017, either with Philadelphia or another club.