Atlantic Notes: Noel, Sixers, Tatum, Raptors

Already missing Mitchell Robinson due to a broken hand, the Knicks may also have to get by for a little while without Taj Gibson, who sprained his ankle on Saturday and was inactive on Sunday. However, Nerlens Noel‘s play at the five has helped ease the team’s depth issues up front, writes Marc Berman of The New York Post.

“I definitely don’t want anyone hurt on this team,” said Noel, who has started the Knicks’ last eight games at center. “But I’ve taken that spot and made a focal point to man this team and be the anchor on the defensive end and do the small little things to help us win. I think I’ve been at a high level.”

Asked on Sunday about the possibility of adding another center to the roster, Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau deferred to president of basketball operations Leon Rose, but said the club has “more than enough on the roster” to get by. As Berman notes, Julius Randle saw some action at center on Sunday, with rookie Obi Toppin playing alongside him at the four.

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • While much of the recent Sixers-related trade speculation has centered on Kyle Lowry, Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer wonders if Rockets guard Victor Oladipo might make sense as an alternative for Philadelphia. At $21MM, Oladipo’s salary would be easier to match than Lowry’s $30.5MM cap hit, and the slumping Rockets may be more inclined than Toronto to sell.
  • In addition to being promoted to the All-Star starting lineup as a result of Kevin Durant‘s injury, Celtics forward Jayson Tatum expects to participate in either the skills challenge or the 3-point contest prior to the All-Star Game next Sunday, but he won’t do both, tweets Tim Bontemps of ESPN.
  • Blake Murphy of The Athletic takes an in-depth look at potential options for the Raptors if they pursue a center on the trade market, zeroing in on Kings big man Richaun Holmes as an ideal target for Toronto, given his modest salary and impressive impact.
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20 thoughts on “Atlantic Notes: Noel, Sixers, Tatum, Raptors

  1. phillyballers

    Yea I would take Oladipo for 1 year. But I wouldn’t give up anything other than salary & a 1st. No team should be giving up a valuable young player. He’s a FA, and he wants a large contract. So unless you plan on re-upping him for a Gordon Hayward # then you aren’t trading much.

    Mike Scott + Danny Green work for salary, but it doesn’t help your depth and defense versatility. You’ll be relying more on Thybulle. If you can package Scott, Ferguson, Bradley, Porier, and Korkmaz. Could be worth the extra tax bill. It would solve some issues with play making.

    I’ll agree as others have said – he’s playing kinda like trash in Houston. I think he’s pressing b/c of the pressure to prove himself going into FA – shooting % down across the board. So I’m hesitant in that respect. But he improves the playoff roster.

    • hiflew

      I don’t think Houston would be willing to do a quantity over quality deal for Oladipo. For that package, it wouldn’t much different to just keep him and take the gamble of re-signing him in the offseason when they are allowed to offer him more money and years.

      • phillyballers

        I don’t see any team giving up a quality young player with multi year control. Nunn is the best asset I can see dealt, and hes an RFA. Knicks could deal Knox. Everyone else is sending salary filler and a 1st or 2 2nds.

        • buttholesurfer69

          Yeah idk if there’s a sensible trade for Oladipo before the deadline. Agreed I don’t see them giving up Green for Oladipo, and I don’t know how low Houston is willing to sell.

          It’s also very murky where he wants to play – I’ve heard he wants to go Miami but Miami may not be interested? How much are you giving up for him if he already has a destination for next season in mind?

          And finally does he project as a guy you even want to re-sign if you do trade for him. I think he’s 29 this year, had a few injuries, dependent on athleticism. If I’m Philly I think I’d pass.

    • PhillyPhan69

      I think Green, Scott, Kork (to match salary) a 2021 first and a 2023 lottery protected first (turning into a 23/24 2nd rounder worst case scenario for both teams) is a workable deal.

      Presuming that they would work with Morey, don’t get a better offer and realize they likely can’t resign him. I like oladipo but not sure I want him at that price either. Tough call, but it is all speculation at this stage

  2. hiflew

    I’m glad to see Noel get a chance to prove his worth in the league. Over the last decade, he has probably made the worst financial decision of any NBA player. Probably even the worst of all time. Hopefully he can continue to play well and maybe recoup at least some of that money he lost.

    • andremets

      Noel is like a mitchel Robinson clone. I was pissed at first when we got him but he’s won me over.

    • andremets

      At first I would be pissed when the Knicks wouldn’t give DSJ minutes, but then When they would, I understood why he rides the bench.

  3. I agree with @phillyballers. A big piece of what a team would be trading for (since its the only certain piece) is the rental value. If he’s playing poorly now (not like the once and – hopefully – future VO), its hard to justify trading multiple future assets.

  4. Buckman

    Oladipo is a talent but he lacks 3 PT shooting…does not seem like the right set of skills to add to Philly.

  5. Lefty_Orioles_Fan

    See the Sixers should have scooped up Dennis Smith Jr
    Now they are going to have to spend a lot of money or trade valuable players to get anything

    Also, I still think Simmons for Porzingis would work, but that is wishful thinking on my part.

    • buttholesurfer69

      Smith is getting run on Detroit. Not sure if he would in Philly.

      Don’t see Simmons for KP but I think Dallas would probably be more willing to do it than Philly.

      • Lefty_Orioles_Fan

        Well Porzingis would add an element to the Sixers that they need
        I know he has the injury bug, but if they got a Championship with him….. it would be worth it

      • PhillyPhan69

        Yeah, not interested even in a vacuum. But more importantly who becomes our primary ball handler? We would then need to make a 2nd or 3rd deal to fill the holes. Not seeing this one as realistic

  6. KnickerbockerAl

    Why Toppin is not getting at least 20 mins is puzzling to me. You have an opportunity to play him with Mitch hurt. Noel doesn’t have to play 40 mins. Randle doesn’t have to play 40 mins. Not a good sign to me.

    • buttholesurfer69

      Obi and Quickley both have been playing less and Payton has missed some time too. Thibs is being Thibs but it’s a fine line. Quickley has been one of their best players this year, he deserves the run. Obi at least deserves a chance to play himself out the lineup. Can’t do that playing 10 minutes a night.

      There’s only so much these guys can learn riding pine. Knicks have already had three young guys go bust of late (DSJ, Frank, Knox). Obi and Quick need the development minutes. I’m all for chasing a playoff spot but it has to be a balanced approach.

      • buttholesurfer69

        That may hold water with Toppin, but Quickley has been probably their second best player next to Randle this year, in terms of PER and BPM and it’s not even that close.

        Bullock has an 8.8 PER and -1.9 BPM and he’s getting 26 minutes a game.

        Burks has 13.4 PER and -0.2 BPM and he’s playing 25 min.

        Payton 12.0 PER, -3.1 BPM, and 28 mpg.

        Quickley is at 18.8 PER with a 2.5 BPM and is at 19 mpg.

        These are the adjustments a team has to make in season, it can’t be all eye test. Charlotte did it with LaMelo and it’s paid off, Thibs needs to do it with Quickley

  7. KnickHeat

    I have counted 26 players who are former Sixers that were on NBA rosters this year.

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