Why hasn’t a deal happened yet?
Nerlens Noel in Philly, the research teams have done on him is not good. They don’t get good reports back on their intel, how he’s carried himself there, of his habits. It’s not a great return. So, there are teams willing to do deal and bring him in, but they don’t want to give up much.
Noel reportedly racked up about $25,000 in fines for repeated tardiness and other offenses as a rookie. Earlier this year, he publicly criticized Philadelphia’s roster makeup, and after general manager Bryan Colangelo pushed back, Noel doubled down.
What does that tell us? Noel hasn’t always handled a difficult situation well.
He sat out his entire first professional season, which had to test him. In that time, the 76ers developed what Colangelo admitted was a losing culture.
The big question: How would Noel react to a new environment?
Any team that trades for him will have a less-crowded center situation. Every team has been more committed to winning the last few years than Philadelphia.
Maybe Noel is part of the problem, and he’d infect a new team. Maybe Noel is a victim of Sam Hinkie’s unprecedented tanking plan.
The truth is probably somewhere in between. My money is on the latter being closer to accurate, though it’s quite possible Noel has developed bad habits with the 76ers that could be difficult to reverse.
I don’t blame teams for being reluctant to trade for him. Noel will head into restricted free agency next summer, and he could be in line for a big contract. That’s a dangerous commitment for a player with an unproven-at-best, shaky-at-worst reputation.
If Noel wants out of Philadelphia, he should heed Brett Brown’s advice: keep his head down and focus on his on-court strengths. Then, hope other teams notice.