Knicks To Explore Nerlens Noel Trade In NBA Offseason

Nerlens Noel, New York Knicks, NBA Trade Rumors
NBA Analysis Network

The New York Knicks are entering a very important NBA offseason. The team fell short of expectations this season and the front office will have some pressure to correct some wrongs and get the team back on track on the court.

While a lot of the signings that were made last offseason didn’t pan out, the Knicks are still in a great position to have money to spend in 2023. They structured almost all of the contracts to have team options at the end, meaning they can clear the books in either 2023 or 2024.

One of the signings that didn’t pan out was Nerlens Noel. Noel turned in one of the best defensive seasons in the NBA during the 2020-21 campaign, anchoring the defense with 2.2 blocks and 1.1 steals per game. He came up big when Mitchell Robinson was injured, starting 41 games.

Despite his limitations offensively, Noel proved to be a great asset defensively, which Tim Thibodeau loves. It resulted in Noel signing a three-year deal worth just under $28 million. Unfortunately, he didn’t come close to replicating that success, playing only 25 games with his numbers decreasing across the board.

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Noel is someone that could be on the move this offseason. According to Stefan Bondy, while making an appearance on the HoopsHype Podcast, Noel would generate interest around the league despite not living up to his current contract.

“In talking with multiple executives around the league, they think Nerlens Noel is a trade candidate. I agree. I reported on the three-team trade talks with the New York Knicks, Lakers, and Raptors. Noel was going to be a part of that. For those teams to get that in-depth on parameters with players, they were in serious talks about it. I certainly think there’s a possibility Noel gets moved.”

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A big reason that Noel could be seen as a good asset on the trade market is that he is essentially an expiring contract. The third season on the deal is a team option, so a team looking for relief following the 2022-23 campaign could get some by acquiring Noel.

There also isn’t a need for Nerlens Noel in New York any longer, unless Mitchell Robinson departs in free agency. But, even in that scenario, it has been reported that the New York Knicks could look to trade Julius Randle for a starting center to replace Robinson.

At the very least, the backup spot has been earned by rookie, Jericho Sims. The No. 58 overall selection in the 2021 NBA Draft signed a two-way deal but forced his way into the rotation with his performance. He is a bouncy athlete that finishes way above the rim offensively. He doesn’t offer much else on that end of the floor, but defensively, he is a legitimate difference-maker.

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His athleticism makes him a great rim protector, where he knows how to use his body without fouling. He is excellent in pick-and-roll situations despite his youth and has the looks of a rotation big going forward. Sims’ emergence has made Nerlens Noel very expendable this offseason from New York’s perspective.

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