Noel, Noel: The return?

Nerlens Noel (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Nerlens Noel (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

That’s right Philadelphia 76ers fans, it’s that time of year. And this holiday season, Bryan Colangelo could gift the team with a returnee of symbolic nature.

The Philadelphia 76ers are doing wonderful so far this year. Currently in the thick of the Eastern Conference playoff race with two budding franchise cornerstones leading the way, this team is playing out of its collective mind.

However, the roster is not perfect. While the youngsters must continue to develop, some tangible concerns are present.

The team is elite when Joel Embiid plays. However, when he sits, rim protection is a major issue.
Amir Johnson is a palpable backup who can guard switches well and cut off passing lanes in the pick-and-roll.

But against good teams come playoff time, he will get roasted. Richaun Holmes is not a serviceable rim protector either, due to being undersized for his position. Holmes can catch lobs and finish strong in transition, but if he can’t be an okay last line of defense when Embiid sits, his value is minimal.

More from Sixers News

The solution

Luckily, there’s a very familiar rim protector who might be available at a discount: Nerlens Noel. He fits the team and the time of year perfectly. As a lob-catcher, rim protector, and underrated passer, Noel’s potential has yet to be reached with his new team.

Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle refuses to play Noel for allegedly several reasons. He not only tries to play out of the system, but also refused a near-max contract over the summer. He was expecting to be compensated like those middling centers who were overpaid the offseason before.

The result? A mere qualifying offer, because teams did not have ample cap space like they did a summer ago.

So as a result, an athletic, disgruntled rim protector is merely rotting on a team tanking in disguise.

After trading him for merely two 2nd round picks and Justin Anderson, it could be possible for the 76ers to poach him for even less.

While it might not be smart to rock the boat with how well the team is gelling, it also might be worth looking into. Good front offices always do their due diligence, and that might spark a trade for pennies on the dollar.

The trade

Dallas squeezes out whatever inkling of value Noel has left, and the 76ers set them up for a legitimate playoff run while shopping off a superfluous asset.

On one hand, this might force another move with either Johnson or Jahlil Okafor. Okafor is already one foot out the door as it is. and the former can still provide his already-existing professionalism. On the other hand with Holmes, he and Noel can compete for minutes. And since both are free agents at the end of the year, we would have the chance to scout both as the season progresses.

Next: 2018 NBA Draft Big Board 3.0

It is also possible that we could wait to sign him until the offseason without giving up a pick, for a Christmas in July special. But it’s more fun around the real holidays, isn’t it?