Nerlens Noel

Nerlens Noel Has Reportedly Drawn Interest From Knicks, Rockets, Hornets

Free agent center Nerlens Noel has received “exploratory” interest from the Knicks, Rockets, and Hornets, league sources tell Michael Scotto of HoopsHype.

The sixth overall pick in the 2013 draft, Noel is known for his athleticism and versatility, especially on the defensive end of the floor. However, the 29-year-old hasn’t been on an NBA roster since being waived in September by the Kings. Last season, he appeared in 17 total games for the Pistons and Nets, but played limited minutes, averaging 2.1 points, 2.7 rebounds, and 0.9 steals in 11.5 minutes per night.

The Knicks have two open spots on their 15-man roster and have dealt with multiple injuries in their frontcourt as of late. According to Scotto, head coach Tom Thibodeau is a fan of Noel, who was with the team for two seasons from 2020-22. New York checked in on him prior to signing Taj Gibson to a second 10-day contract, Scotto adds.

Prior to the trade deadline, the Rockets were in the market for a center to back up and complement Alperen Sengun. They acquired Steven Adams from Memphis, but he’s out for the rest of the season, so he’s more of a long-term option up front. Houston currently has a full 15-man roster but may still be in the market for a big man who can help in the short term.

As for the Hornets, they’ve been missing starting center Mark Williams for much of the season and don’t have much depth at the position beyond Nick Richards, who has taken over the starting job. With no timeline for Williams’ return, they may want to add some reinforcements at the five. However, it’s worth noting that while the Knicks are a playoff team and the Rockets still have play-in aspirations, the Hornets are out of the postseason hunt, so they might prefer to rely on young players for those minutes.

Kings Waive Nerlens Noel, Neemias Queta

8:12pm: The duo has officially been waived, according to a team press release.

5:02pm: The Kings are waiving centers Nerlens Noel and Neemias Queta, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski tweets.

Both big men were signed by Sacramento this offseason to partially guaranteed one-year deals, but the Kings subsequently signed JaVale McGee to a guaranteed one-year deal after he cleared waivers.

The Kings want to give Noel and Queta an opportunity to hook on with another organization before training camp rather than hanging onto them and then waiving them shortly before the season begins.

Noel was signed to a one-year, veteran’s minimum deal as a free agent this summer. He received a $300K guarantee, which would have increased to $600K if he made the 15-man opening night roster.

Noel has appeared in 467 career regular season games since being drafted sixth overall in 2013 but didn’t play much in 2022/23. After being traded from New York to Detroit during the 2022 offseason, the 29-year-old appeared in 14 games for the Pistons, who bought him out at the end of February. He signed a 10-day contract with Brooklyn and played in three games for the Nets, but didn’t get a second 10-day and finished the season as a free agent.

The Kings signed Queta to a two-year, minimum-salary contract. His $2,019,706 salary for the upcoming season included a $250K guarantee, while the second season was non-guaranteed. The guarantee for the upcoming season would have doubled if he was on the opening night roster.

Queta has been on Sacramento’s roster the past two seasons, appearing in a total of 20 NBA games. The 7’0” Queta was a second-round pick in 2021 out of Utah State.

Noel and Queta were projected to fight for one roster spot as the No. 3 center behind Domantas Sabonis and Alex Len. That changed when the Mavericks waived McGee and the Kings signed him after he cleared waivers. Sacramento has 14 guaranteed contracts and could explore other options, or just leave open the 15th roster spot.

Western Notes: Doncic, Tenzer, Watson, McGee, Len, Spurs

Luka Doncic isn’t doing himself any favors with his constant complaining to the officials, Tim Cato of The Athletic writes. The Mavericks superstar was tossed from Slovenia’s quarterfinal loss to Canada in the FIBA World Cup. Doncic’s technical fouls in the NBA have risen in each of his five seasons. Cato notes. Doncic has publicly acknowledged over the years he needs to pipe down, but his actions haven’t reflected it. He’s a master at drawing contact but complaining about non-calls serves no useful purpose, as Cato writes.

We have more from the Western Conference:

  • The Nuggets’ new G League general manager, Ben Tenzer, believes forward Peyton Watson will blossom in his second NBA season, he told Bennett Durando of the Denver Post. “(He) has all the potential in the world. I think it starts with his defense and his energy,” Tenzer said. “He’s such a unique player with his size and his ability to cover the court. His shot-blocking ability. I think we were able to see it a little bit when he played with the Nuggets toward the end of the season, how good he can be. So I think for him it starts with the defensive side. The offensive side will come because of his natural ability to be able to handle and attack the rim.”
  • Alex Len and JaVale McGee are expected to make the Kings’ opening night roster and compete for backup minutes at center, James Ham of tweets. That doesn’t come as much of a surprise, considering they both have guaranteed contracts. That also means Neemias Queta and Nerlens Noel, who have partially guaranteed deals, will essentially be competing for the final roster spot, assuming Sacramento decides to carry 15 players.
  • The Spurs have 18 players on guaranteed or partially guaranteed deals. So who will be the odd men out? The Athletic’s John Hollinger and Kelly Iko explore that, plus other Spurs-related topics. Khem Birch and Charles Bassey appear to be the most vulnerable, according to Hollinger. If San Antonio is unable to deal one of its guards, then either Doug McDermott, Reggie Bullock or Cedi Osman could be bought out.

Pacific Notes: McGee, Durant, Reaves

The Kings have signed JaVale McGee to a one-year contract. McGee got a guaranteed veteran’s minimum deal but that doesn’t mean he’s assured of making the roster out of training camp, Jason Anderson of the Sacramento Bee writes.

The Kings have McGee, Alex Len, Nerlens Noel, Neemias Queta and Skal Labissiere on the camp roster as potential backups to star center Domantas Sabonis. Labissiere is ticketed to the G League but Len has a fully guaranteed one-year deal, while Noel and Queta have partial guarantees. That means four players are essentially vying for two roster spots.

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • The Warriors won championships in 2017 and 2018 with Kevin Durant on their roster. Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic compares those Warriors teams to the current Suns group with Durant, Devin Booker and Bradley Beal as the main trio, evaluating how Phoenix might emulate those championship clubs.
  • The Lakers have tried to acquire a third star in recent years to join forces with LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Do they now have that player on the roster in the form of Austin Reaves? Jovan Buha of The Athletic explores that topic, considering how well Reaves has performed for Team USA. With several weeks to adjust to his new role as a primary ball-handler during training camp, Reaves can cement his status as an All-Star-level third option, Buha concludes.
  • Reaves said the World Cup hasn’t taken a physical toll on him, he told Dan Woike of the Los Angeles Times in a Q&A session. “I feel great. It’s been better than I expected,” the Lakers guard said. “You look at it, you go down the list of minutes guys have played and nobody plays more than 25 minutes. On max, someone might play 30 minutes a game. So, it’s not really like the NBA season where you’re playing 32, 35, maybe 40 minutes. The minutes are way shorter.”

Kings Interested In JaVale McGee

The Kings are interested in signing veteran center JaVale McGee once he clears waivers, Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report and NBA on TNT tweets.

The Mavericks officially waived McGee on Monday and he’ll become an unrestricted free agent on Thursday.

Sacramento has 13 players on guaranteed contracts and two more frontcourt players —  Neemias Queta and Nerlens Noel — on partially guaranteed deals. The Kings also have Alex Len behind Domantas Sabonis in the center spot with Trey Lyles another possibility in small-ball lineups.

McGee could join the battle for backup minutes behind Sabonis. He’d be on his ninth NBA team since entering the league in 2008.

McGee signed a three-year, $17MM+ contract with Dallas last offseason, but only spent seven games in the starting lineup and subsequently fell out of the rotation altogether. The 35-year-old averaged 4.4 points and 2.5 rebounds in a career-low 8.5 minutes per game across 42 appearances during his second stint as a Maverick.

Pacific Notes: Queta, Noel, Ham, Reaves, Azubuike

A training camp roster battle is on tap between Kings big men Neemias Queta and Nerlens Noel, according to James Ham of The Kings Beat.

Sacramento now has essentially five options at center. Queta and Noel have partially guaranteed contracts and with starter Domantas Sabonis, Alex Len and small-ball center Trey Lyles also on the roster, there’s probably no need to carry both Queta and Noel out of camp. Queta offers much more on the offensive end, while Noel is the safer choice defensively.

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • Lakers coach Darvin Ham is thrilled with the depth moves the front office made this offseason, he told ESPN’s Leonard Solms. The team signed Gabe Vincent, Taurean Prince, Cam Reddish, Jaxson Hayes in free agency. “I think we added a lot of depth, a lot of guys that have skill, size and athleticism, so I look forward to all of that coming together,” Ham said.
  • Austin Reaves re-signed with the Lakers on a four-year deal worth nearly $54MM. He said the money won’t change him or his approach. “It obviously changes things in the fact that me and my family, my friends, don’t have to worry about that part of life anymore,” Reaves told Dan Woike of the Los Angeles Times. “Like, if you’re good with me, you’re good on that standard. But my everyday life, I don’t think anything really will change. It’s not like I’m going to go out and buy the craziest stuff or things like that.”
  • Udoka Azubuike played against Deandre Ayton in high school. They’re now on the same NBA team after Azubuike signed a two-way contract with the Suns. Azubuike is excited to compete against his new teammate in practice. “Playing alongside him, it’ll be great. Just us competing. Ultimately, we’re competing for one another,” he told Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic. “We’re a team. It’s all for the best interest of the team. Whatever is going to make the team better, just competing. I’m excited. I’m looking forward to that from the jump, going into training camp and competing and working hard.”

Contract Details: Noel, Dowtin, White, Jordan, Matthews, More

The one-year, minimum-salary contract that Nerlens Noel signed with the Kings is currently only partially guaranteed for $300K, Hoops Rumors has learned. Noel would see his partial guarantee increase to $600K if he hasn’t been waived by the first game of the regular season this fall. In order to receive his full salary, he’d need to remain under contract through at least January 7.

Here are more details on a few recently signed NBA contracts:

  • Jeff Dowtin‘s one-year, minimum-salary contract with the Raptors is fully non-guaranteed for the time being. However, the guard would receive a partial guarantee worth $900K if he’s not waived on or before October 21, reports Blake Murphy of (Twitter link).
  • The Thunder signed Jack White to a two-year, minimum-salary contract that includes a $600K partial guarantee in year one and a team option for 2024/25, Hoops Rumors has learned.
  • The one-year, minimum-salary deals signed by DeAndre Jordan (Nuggets) and Wesley Matthews (Hawks) are fully guaranteed, Hoops Rumors has learned.
  • The two-way contracts signed by Omari Moore (Bucks) and Leaky Black (Hornets) cover two years rather than just one, Hoops Rumors has learned.
  • Sixers center Montrezl Harrell and Nuggets guard Reggie Jackson waived their right to veto trades during their 2023/24 season, Hoops Rumors has learned. As we detailed earlier today, players who re-sign with their previous teams on one-year deals (or two-year deals with a second-year option) get trade veto rights by default, but can choose to give up those rights.

Kings Sign Nerlens Noel To One-Year Deal

JULY 21: Noel’s new contract is official, tweets Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee.

JULY 18: The Kings and free agent center Nerlens Noel have agreed to a one-year contract, agent George Langberg tells Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link).

Wojnarowski refers to it as a $3.1MM deal, which suggests it’s a minimum-salary agreement. The veteran’s minimum for a player with 10 years of NBA experience in 2023/24 is $3,196,448.

Noel, who has appeared in 467 career regular season games since being drafted sixth overall in 2013, didn’t play much in 2022/23. After being traded from New York to Detroit during the 2022 offseason, the 29-year-old appeared in 14 games for the Pistons, who bought him out at the end of February. He signed a 10-day contract with Brooklyn and played in three games for the Nets, but didn’t get a second 10-day and finished the season as a free agent.

Known as an athletic frontcourt defender who has the ability to generate turnovers and protect the rim, Noel enjoyed his best season in recent years in New York in 2020/21, when he averaged 5.1 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 2.2 blocks in 24.2 minutes per night across 64 contests.

It’s unclear whether or not Noel’s new contract with Sacramento will be fully guaranteed, but he should be in position to claim an opening-night roster spot. Prior to their agreement with Noel, the Kings were carrying just 13 players on standard guaranteed contracts.

Although Alex Len re-signed with the Kings this offseason, Richaun Holmes and Chimezie Metu aren’t returning and Neemias Queta is still a free agent, so there could be rotation minutes available at center behind Domantas Sabonis.

Scotto’s Latest: Tucker, Gay, Sumner, Noel

With James Harden‘s trade request still unresolved, teams are monitoring the future of his Sixers teammate P.J. Tucker. According to a report from HoopsHype’s Michael Scotto, Tucker has come up in trade discussions between the 76ers and the Clippers, Harden’s reported preferred destination. The Clippers “covet” Tucker’s ability to guard multiple positions, according to Scotto.

Tucker, a teammate of Harden’s on the Rockets from 2017-21, joined the 76ers last summer on a three-year, $33MM deal to reunite with Harden and former Rockets general manager Daryl Morey. Harden and Tucker are close, with Harden reportedly taking less money last offseason to help bring Tucker aboard one of the Eastern Conference’s top contenders.

Tucker, a 12-year NBA veteran, is owed $11MM this upcoming season and has a player option worth $11.5MM for the 2024/25 season. At 38 years old, Tucker is one of the oldest active players in the NBA but he hasn’t shown any mileage yet, starting in all 75 of his appearances last season and averaging 25.6 minutes.

There’s more from Scotto:

  • Free agent forward Rudy Gay, who was recently released by the Thunder, is drawing interest from several potential playoff teams, according to Scotto. The Warriors, Lakers, Mavericks, Bulls and Pelicans have all registered interest in Gay, per Scotto. Gay will be 37 by the time next season starts and while his role has diminished in each of the past three seasons, he’s still a seasoned veteran with 17 years of NBA experience. Gay averaged 5.2 points last season. Each team linked to Gay has at least one roster spot open and could offer him a one-year, veteran’s minimum which, for a player with 10+ years of experience, is worth roughly $3.2MM next season.
  • Free agent guard Edmond Sumner, who was recently let go by the Nets, is also drawing attention from multiple teams, according to Scotto. The Hornets, Bucks, Raptors, Heat and Suns all have registered interest in the 27 year old. Scotto says that some of the named teams appear more likely than others to pursue a deal with Sumner. The Bucks have one roster spot open and no true point guard behind Jrue Holiday, but those around the league expect Milwaukee’s final spot to go to Thanasis Antetokounmpo, according to Scotto. The Suns also just filled their final standard roster spot with Bol Bol, so they would have to create space elsewhere. Meanwhile, the Heat are reportedly in a holding pattern amid Damian Lillard trade talks. On the other hand, the Hornets are searching for veteran point guard help and the Raptors lack point guard depth behind new addition Dennis Schröder.
  • Before agreeing to a one-year deal with the Kings, center Nerlens Noel drew exploratory interest from the Lakers and Bulls, according to Scotto. The Lakers’ interest, in particular, is noteworthy due to their reported desire to add frontcourt depth to their roster. Free agent big men Christian Wood and Bismack Biyombo have also recently been linked to the Lakers.

New York Notes: Sharpe, Bridges, Randle, Jeffries

The Nets fortified their frontcourt depth this month by signing a pair of big men to 10-day contracts — Nerlens Noel got one, then the team brought in Moses Brown following the expiration of Noel’s deal. However, Noel wasn’t re-signed and Brown only played four minutes during his 10 days with Brooklyn, which concluded on Sunday night.

Rather than using Brown, the Nets have leaned recently on Day’Ron Sharpe as their backup center behind Nic Claxton, writes Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Sharpe has responded admirably, averaging 10.8 points, 7.0 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks in just 15.8 minutes per game over his last four appearances.

“Sometimes you have to tap into that competitive nature,” Nets head coach Jacque Vaughn said. “Sometimes you can not appreciate the situation that you’re in. It might not look like the way you want it to look on your timing. Sometimes you need a little nudge, and Day’Ron has responded extremely well by having another big on the roster.”

Following the expiration of Brown’s 10-day deal, the Nets have an open spot on their 15-man roster, so they’re in position to bring back Noel or Brown or to add someone new before the end of the regular season. Noel would be playoff-eligible but Brown wouldn’t be, since he has been waived since March 1.

Here’s more on the NBA’s two New York teams:

  • After attempting 1.9 free throws per game during his four-and-a-half years in Phoenix, Nets forward Mikal Bridges is getting to the foul line 6.7 times per game in Brooklyn. He credited Suns stars Devin Booker and Chris Paul for helping him grow and expand that part of his game during his first few years in the NBA, Lewis writes for The New York Post. “Just trying to get to the line, just trying to be aggressive. That’s just a big thing,” Bridges said. “Coming from Phoenix, watching a lot of and being right there with a lot of Book and CP3 and how they draw fouls, I’ve learned a lot.”
  • Prior to Monday’s blowout win over Houston, Knicks forward Julius Randle had received technical fouls in three consecutive games, all losses. While Randle acknowledged he needs to do a better job of keeping his frustration in check, he doesn’t believe his outbursts adversely impact his standing as a team leader, writes Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News. “Name a perfect leader,” Randle said. “Name a perfect human being.”
  • The Knicks used a portion of their room exception when they signed DaQuan Jeffries to a two-year contract, Hoops Rumors has learned. A rest-of-season minimum salary for Jeffries would have paid him $163,977, but New York opted to give him $300K for the remainder of the season using the room exception. The swingman’s new deal includes a non-guaranteed minimum salary ($2.07MM) for 2023/24.