Dallas Mavericks: There is No Backup Plan After Noel

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 21: President
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 21: President /

As the Dallas Mavericks continue to let days pass without a deal in place for new center, Nerlens Noel, they should probably remember that it’s July 22nd and any feasible option for a starting center has already been signed. There’s no more room for error.

Have we talked enough about Nerlens Noel yet? I know everyone is sick of hearing speculation and talks of how distant the two parties continue to be, but it is such a fun and easy topic to talk about that it deserves to be talked about from every single angle. One of which will be discussed a little bit today.

The fact that the Dallas Mavericks and Nerlens Noel have not already agreed to a deal is troublesome. That much is painfully obvious for all of us. However, the belief that Dallas is still the only uniform Noel will end up in, is still a comforting thought. That little silver lining statement is the “glass half full” version of this particular post.

In reality, the Mavericks are in a really tough situation right now. What was believed to be a very simple contract negotiation where both parties would agree somewhere below max (but not too far below), has been far from that and the Mavs have still not come close to the offer that was expected by Noel and his agent.

Dallas needs to be extra careful as they continue to work on a contract with Noel, though. Even though he has not made it particularly easy, Dallas needs to remember a few simple details about Nerlens Noel.

PHILADELPHIA, PA – MARCH 17: Jahlil Okafor
PHILADELPHIA, PA – MARCH 17: Jahlil Okafor /

1. He is 23 years old

This is not a slight at Noel’s age by any means, in fact it is a testament of why Dallas needs to keep him so bad. Dallas has had one real, formidable center in the last decade in Tyson Chandler, and now they have a chance to get a younger version that can grow into the Mavs organization. That can really help Dallas over time.

The fact that he is so young also gives him every bit of benefit that Dallas likes, such as room to grow, ability to adapt to the new system, and trade value if things go wrong. All of these would lean towards keeping Noel happy.

2. We want him for a long time

This one is very similar to the previous one in that Noel is not a short-term solution for Dallas, but a long term starter. This would even hopefully extend past the current contract negotiations and into the next ones.

To keep Noel happy and excited about the Mavericks, there is not a lot of room for error. Month long contract talks that get us nowhere are dangerous things to play with and, if Noel gets upset with it all, he could very easily be ready to walk by the time his contract is up. That would take away from the Mavericks entire plan with the young center.

MIAMI, FL – APRIL 2: Mason Plumlee
MIAMI, FL – APRIL 2: Mason Plumlee /

3. There are no top-level “Plan B” options anymore

This is the biggest one of all and continues to make things painfully clear for Dallas. Quite simply, there are no other real options out there for the center position. The Mavs have the best center available in free agency (both now and since the beginning) as a restricted free agent and are ready to match any offer sheet.

Because things are not going well, it’s easy to see that Dallas may have considered a cheaper option. Looking around the league now, however, the only real starting center still available is Mason Plumlee, a good player but with nowhere near the potential that Noel has. Thus, the Mavs have only one real option: get Noel under contract.

Next: Dallas Mavericks: Comparing Center Contracts to Nerlens Noel

Listen, it sucks that the Mavericks continue to be put into tough situations during free agency, but with this one, it is time to scrap future plans temporarily and get Noel under contract. It may not be what we want in the long run, but it seems like the only clear option at this point.