I chat with Nerlens Noel at Mavs Media Day where we talk about his contract situation, changing agents and working out with LeBron James.
The hype around the new rookie, Dennis Smith Jr., was real. Dirk Nowitzki entering his 20th season provided the nostalgia. But everyone was wanting to hear what Nerlens Noel had to say about his eventful summer surrounding his contract negotiations.
After answering his questions at his scheduled press conference at Media Day, I caught up with Noel to chat about his feelings from the start of free agency.
When I asked about Noel about how his summer didn’t go as planned, Noel went a different direction by saying that his summer did go as planned.
"“My summer did go as planned because my plan was to get better and I did. On the business side of it I was just trying to let it play out. At this point its time for my agent to handle but I was really focused on basketball,” Noel said."
The agent he is talking about now is Rich Paul, not his previous agent in Happy Walters. As most people know, Noel switched agents in the middle of free agency and I asked Noel what played into that switch.
“Couple things. Just wanted to be a little more at comfort with the representation which is probably the main reason really anybody would do it is comfort. That’s about it,” Noel said.
Comfort is a loaded word to use as we all can read between the lines what that comfort means.
I then turned the conversation to him signing his qualifying offer and how he has special rights within that to sign off on any trade this season. I asked Noel point blank, “will you finish the season on the Mavericks?”
“That is so far ahead of me at this point and all on my agent,” Noel responded.
Noel will now be an unrestricted free agent next summer where he will join other big names. One of those names is LeBron James himself.
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Over the summer, footage came out of pickup games in both New York and Los Angeles where big names were on the same court together. One video came out of Noel on the same court as LeBron and I asked Noel about that.
“It was great. Got a couple of individual workouts with him too. That went well. To see one of the best players ever and best player in our league right now. To see his everyday work ethic,” Noel said about LeBron.
Some people have already tried to connect the dots between Noel and James ever since Noel switched agents to join James’ agent, Rich Paul. Now, they hit unrestricted free agency together next summer after they spent time together working out this past summer.
The relationship is there and now we see how Noel plays this season coming off the bench, at least from the start. When I asked Noel about coming off the bench, Noel said “Whatever they want me to do, I will do.”
In regards to when he found out that he would come off the bench, Noel said just two days before Media Day.