Former Sixers big man Nerlens Noel could be getting paid — big-time — this summer in free agency.
According to DallasBasketball.com, multiple teams are willing to offer up a max contract when the Mavericks' center becomes a restricted free agent.
Talk of Noel attracting a max deal, which could be worth well over $100 million, doesn’t come as a surprise. The Sixers were aware Noel could garner far more than they wanted to spend. They weren’t going to dish out starter's money to a player who had a backup role on the team, especially not when Joel Embiid’s payday is on the horizon.
The Sixers had two options: Keep Noel on the roster for the remainder of the season as a sixth man and potentially lose him to a bigger deal this summer with nothing to show for it, or cut ties at the deadline and get something in return.
The Sixers went the latter route. They traded Noel to the Mavericks for Justin Anderson, Andrew Bogut (who they bought out), and a 2017 top-18 protected pick that conveyed to a pair of second-round picks.
"The situation with Nerlens, him being an RFA certainly affected how people approached that type of player," Sixers president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo said after the trade. "It was more or less the case that concern with how that contract might look in the future was a concern and (caused) apprehension."
The Mavericks were pleased with Noel’s performance the remainder of the season. He averaged 8.5 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.1 blocks in 22.0 minutes in 22 games (12 starts) for the Mavs.
Noel’s size and athleticism will draw teams to him in free agency. He just turned 23 years old in April and has years of potential to be effective, especially in an uptempo system (think: lobs).
Noel isn’t the only former Sixer looking to cash in as a free agent this offseason.
Remember Dewayne Dedmon? He suited up in 11 games for the Sixers on a pair of 10-day contracts during the 2013-14 season. Dedmon played this season for the Spurs, averaging 5.1 points and 6.5 rebounds in 76 games (37 starts). He made a name for himself in his fourth year and has decided to decline his $3 million player option to become an unrestricted free agent, according to The Vertical.