Atlantic Notes: Noel, Knicks, Young, KG

Rookie Nerlens Noel is already essentially the centerpiece of the Sixers, and he has no complaints about the team’s radical rebuilding, as Mike Mazzeo of examines. 

“I love the direction that we’re heading in,” Noel said. “I love what [GM] Sam Hinkie is doing with our team: building through the draft, getting young guys and being very particular about the pieces that he brings into this organization. I think this is going to be a very solid team in the next few years and we’re just going to continue to grow together.”

Noel, unlike many other rookies who were drafted in the first round, is set for free agency in 2017, and not 2018, because he signed his rookie scale contract before sitting out the entire 2013/14 season with injury. So, it appears he’ll benefit from a cap surge instead of a potential cap drop like his fellow rookies, as I examined. Here’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • The amount of cash the Knicks sent the Pacers this past June for the rights to 57th overall pick Louis Labeyrie was $1.5MM, a league source told Marc Berman of the New York Post. That counted against New York’s 2013/14 traded cash limit and doesn’t apply toward the $3.3MM the team can send out in trades between the end of the regular season and June 30th this year. Labeyrie recently signed a one-year extension with Paris Levallois in France, so a buyout would have to be paid for him to sign with the Knicks for next season, according to Berman.
  • The Netsacquisition of Thaddeus Young for Kevin Garnett helped the team get younger, but it doesn’t erase the ill-fated trade for Garnett and Paul Pierce from 2013, opines Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News. Garnett did fill a leadership role, but no one has stepped into that void in his absence, Bondy also argues.
  • Brooklyn owes its first-round pick to Boston in 2016 because of that Garnett-Pierce trade, and Tim Bontemps of the New York Post examines how that dynamic and others makes Young’s decision about his player option for next season a crucial one for the Nets.
  • The Celtics have once more assigned James Young to the D-League, the team announced. It’s the 10th time that Boston has sent 2014’s 17th overall pick on D-League assignment this season, though none of his previous nine trips have covered more than three days.
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