Jahlil Okafor has been the Sixers big man who has been the subject of the most trade rumors and speculation this offseason, but he hasn’t been the only frontcourt player in Philadelphia mentioned in those rumors. Teammate Nerlens Noel has also been considered a trade candidate, with the 76ers needing to clear a logjam up front and add a little more talent in their backcourt.
According to A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE.com, Noel hasn’t asked to be traded and nothing tangible is in the works at this point. However, multiple sources tell Blakely that the former Kentucky Wildcat would be “very open” to being dealt if the Sixers choose to go in that direction. One league source also informed Blakely that the Celtics continue to have interest in Noel.
The Sixers will be faced with a decision soon on Noel — they’ll essentially have to determine this offseason or next summer whether he’ll be a part of their long-term future. The 22-year-old is extension-eligible this year for the first time, and will reach restricted free agency in 2017 if he and the Sixers don’t come to an agreement on a new deal. Odds are that Noel probably isn’t going anywhere before the 2016/17 begins, but it’s still a situation worth keeping an eye on.
Here’s more from around the Eastern Conference:
- Although the Pistons‘ free agent moves the summer – with the exception of Andre Drummond‘s new deal – mostly involved adding complementary players, the team did have its sights set on one of the premier stars available. As Keith Langlois of Pistons.com details, Detroit was one of a handful of clubs to land a meeting with Al Horford. Stan Van Gundy explains that the Pistons could have fit in Horford and still added a backup point guard, but the team was ultimately happy to end up with Jon Leuer and Boban Marjanovic after Horford went to Boston. “It’s like a power hitter being able to take a swing at the home run and let it all go, but end up not striking out,” Van Gundy said.
- In an interview with ESPN’s Marc Stein, Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony suggested that if his professional basketball career ends without an NBA championship, he’ll still consider it a success if he walks away with three Olympic gold medals and an NCAA title. “I would be very happy walking away from the game knowing that I’ve given the game everything I have, knowing I played on a high level at every level: high school, college, won [a championship at Syracuse] in college and possibly three gold medals,” Anthony said.
- Paul George tells Sean Highkin of ProBasketballTalk that he’s excited about the Pacers‘ new direction, including the addition of veteran point guard Jeff Teague. “[Pacers president] Larry [Bird] has put it on display that he wants to get us back to the Eastern Conference [playoffs], see where we can take it from there,” George said.