Nerlens Noel, the third-year big man, could be traded by the Philadelphia 76ers to the New Orleans Pelicans in exchange for Tyreke Evans, Quincy Pondexter and a 2017 first round pick, per reports.
With Joel Embiid and Dario Saric set to make his much-awaited debuts, not to mention the presence of Jahlil Okafor and Ben Simmons, Noel is entering the new season with an uncertain future in Philadelphia.
The Sixers cannot possibly find playing time for all the aforementioned players, most of whom are talented enough to be starters on most rebuilding teams.
Nerlens Noel to New Orleans?
According to Zach Harper of CBS Sports, a trade with Pelicans would work well for both teams since the Sixers could use additional wings such as Evans and Pondexter while New Orleans could pair up Anthony Davis and Noel in their frontcourt.
“Basically, you’re (Pelicans) paying an injured Tyreke Evans and Quincy Pondexter, who is coming off a pretty serious knee injury, in order to flip Noel for a first-round pick in 2017.
“The Sixers would then have another good asset to move around draft night with this pick from the Pelicans, and we’re not even sure if the Pelicans will make the playoffs next season, so it could be a good one,” wrote Harper.
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Buddy Hield to start?
The NBA insider also argued that Buddy Heild, who was picked No.6 during June’s Draft by the Pelicans, should begin his debut season as a starter, something that seems difficult in the current scenario.
“The departures of Evans and Pondexter also frees up minutes at the wing for rookie Buddy Hield all season long, instead of figuring out how to balance the rotation when Evans is able to play again,” added Harper.
Remember, Evans is entering the final year of his contract while Pondexter would be an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2018. But since Noel is also a restricted free agent next year, this trade is a good return for the Sixers.
In recent weeks, Nerlens Noel subtly hinted that he wished to be traded to the Boston Celtics, his hometown franchise. However, the Sixers front office can go a number of ways with Noel.