Injuries have limited Nerlens Noel to just 24 games and six starts this season, leaving his impending unrestricted free agency as a major question mark. The former sixth overall pick will be able to sign with any team this upcoming offseason and he intends to approach the process in the best shape of his life, Isaac Harris of NBA.com writes.
“Once this summer ends I’ll be working harder than I’ve ever worked,” Noel said. “Just growing in this league and being older. Getting the priorities right and evolving. My mindset has only grown stronger in what I really want in life and want from this game. Right when the season ends I will strictly be working on my game and staying to myself and just letting things play out.”
Noel is still just 23 years old and his status as a former lottery pick with upside on defense and rebounding will likely attract a fair amount of suitors. Noel said he is open to a reunion with the Mavericks but will enter the summer with an “open mind” when it comes to signing his next deal.
Check out more Mavericks notes below:
- The Mavericks’ recent win over the Knicks at Madison Square Garden was proof that head coach Rick Carlisle is still taking his job seriously, despite the team’s poor record, Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News writes. Carlisle is owed a sizeable $7MM annual salary and has job security through 2022 but he does not want to concede in any way. “Competing just takes on a different form in our situation,” Carlisle said. “I have chosen to be here. I have a long deal. I knew we were probably going to hit a lower point. It’s just part of the cycle of the NBA.”
- With Wesley Matthews out for the remainder of the season with a stress fracture, several Mavericks players stand to see increased minutes. Sefko writes that players such as Dorian Finney-Smith, Doug McDermott, and Jalen Jones will likely see the most increased minutes.
- After the Mavericks’ win over the Knicks, Harrison Barnes and Dirk Nowitzki addressed the topic of tanking in the NBA. Nowitzki said it’s clear which teams are purposely trying to lose and which ones are trying to win despite their record. “We keep playing hard,” Nowitzki said, per Sefko. “There obviously are some teams that are going for some losses now. We’re one of the teams that still wants to win and see where we end up in the draft.”