Nerlens Noel Could Start the Season Suspended

Philadelphia 76ers center Nerlens Noel could potentially begin the regular season suspended due to a lawsuit that began at the end of last season.

Late last season, with just four games left to play, TMZ Sports reported that Nerlens Noel was under fire in a lawsuit for allegedly destroying a rental property before leaving it. According to the landlords of the property, Nerlens left the house in a gross condition, with drugs in the bathroom, Gatorade on the carpets, and they even suspected him of leaving a tombstone on their doorstep that read “RIP.”

The homeowners calculated the damages of the house to be nearly $50 thousand, but the homeowners sued Nerlens for $75 thousand, since they suspected the tombstone — which they took as a death threat — to be from Nerlens, or someone in his posse.

Noel, despite remaining quiet at first regarding the lawsuit, has reportedly defended himself in his legal documents, basically saying that the lawsuit is a bunch of horse crap, and that the tombstone wasn’t from him. Nerlens also said he tried to work with the homeowners to repair the carpet even though he doesn’t think he was the one who damaged them.

Nonetheless, it’s been three months since these reports came out, and it’s likely that the lawsuit has either been settled at this point, or Nerlens has gone to court over the matter. In either case, one has to wonder if the Sixers are going to bring up any sort of suspension.

It’s likely — as with most court cases — that a settlement between the two parties was established, and in that case, it would be much harder for the Sixers to justify a suspension, since no facts were presented to a court.

With just four games to play last year when this news came out, and no facts to base any suspension off of, it’s not surprise that Nerlens didn’t get the hammer last year. But the Sixers could have more access to information now on whether or not Nerlens truly was guilty or not.

The Sixers have had their fair share of misbehaving athletes over the last season. Mainly, Jahlil Okafor was the culprit. He was in street fights, pulled over for doubling the speed limit on the Benjamin Franklin Bridge, and had a loaded gun pulled and pointed at him at an Old City night club in Philadelphia.

The punishment for these situations was light with Okafor. The team had a bodyguard go with him places after some of these reported incidents, and only after the second street fight video was released did they suspend him for two games.

That was under the Sam Hinkie regime, however, and now Bryan Colangelo operates the team. It’s going to be interesting to see how Bryan takes care of things like player punishment for behavioral issues.

If Bryan wants to send a message to the very youthful Sixers roster, and has the facts and reasoning to back up suspending Nerlens to start the season for a game or two, it would not surprise me to see it happen.

I also don’t think fans would really be all that upset if Nerlens was suspended, either. Sure, the suspension — even if Colangelo has the facts to do it — would seem excessive, but if they do it right at the beginning of the year, it probably wouldn’t even be noticed. The Sixers will be debuting Dario Saric, Ben Simmons, and perhaps most important Joel Embiid during the opening games of the season, so if Nerlens sits, it’s not a huge deal.