Nerlens Noel didn’t get the offer he wanted this summer so he signed a qualifying offer for one year. Could next year be a similar situation?
Nerlens Noel has placed a bet on himself this season to prove his worth in order to earn a bigger payday next summer.
But will that pay-day even be possible?
ESPN’s Kevin Pelton projects six teams next summer to have the cap space to offer Nerlens Noel a bigger offer than the four-year, $70 million offer from Dallas.
"“Of those six teams, four appear unlikely to make an offer to Noel for various reasons. The L.A. Lakers will be focused on using their cap space to add two max-level All-Stars, while the Indiana Pacers (Myles Turner) and Utah Jazz(Rudy Gobert) are set at center. The Philadelphia 76ers, Noel’s former team, probably aren’t interested in a reunion and presumably have their money earmarked for an addition on the wing anyway,” Pelton says."
The two teams that logically make sense and could be the biggest challengers to Dallas: Chicago and Atlanta.
"“That would leave Noel counting on a big offer from one of the two other teams with significant cap space: the Atlanta Hawks, who could have more than $30 million in room if centers Dewayne Dedmon and Mike Muscala decline player options, and the Chicago Bulls, who will likely have more than $40 million in cap space and might consider Noel an upgrade over veteran Robin Lopez and Cristiano Felicio,” Pelton says."
You can read Peltons full piece on the Noel situation moving forward here.
Atlanta and Chicago would make a lot of sense for Noel as both teams are moving forward in building their young core and Nerlens is still just 23 years old.
Then you look at the market of big men set to hit free agency next summer.
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DeMarcus Cousins and Brook Lopez are both starting centers who are currently under 30 years old and will be unrestricted free agents next summer. Joel Embiid, Jusuf Nurkic and Clint Capela will all be restricted free agents next summer.
Then you have guys like DeAndre Jordan, Enes Kanter, and LaMarcus Aldridge that can decline their player options and hit unrestricted free agency next summer.
Combine the potentially loaded free agent big man class with the small amount of teams that will currently have the amount of cap space Nerlens is looking for and suddenly, it could be deja vu for Noel next summer.
Noel can obviously play at his highest of levels to where Dallas will use his Bird Rights to max him out, but even then, if there aren’t any other bidders throwing max money at him, should Dallas bid against themselves and overpay?
Betting on himself for one year is one thing, but betting on next summer being his big money pay-day is a whole different kind of bet.