BOSTON – It would have been a fairy tale come true for many to see Massachusetts native Nerlens Noel donning a real, non-Photoshopped Celtics jersey this season.
So much for dreaming.
The likelihood of that happening anytime soon – or ever – doesn’t look good after the Sixers suffered yet another injury to one of its young big men.
No. 1 overall pick Ben Simmons sustained a right foot injury that will reportedly keep the 6-foot-10 rookie out for at least three months.
While his injury certainly is a huge blow to Philadelphia’s overall depth, it still doesn’t add a tremendous amount of clarity to what’s still a pretty clogged up middle.
Noel, Jahlil Okafor and Joel Embiid all play center, although Noel can slide over and play some at power forward.
The cluster of bigs was at the heart of Noel’s frustration with the Sixers and his role in their plans.
“I feel like it definitely needs to be figured out," Noel told the Philadelphia Inquirer recently. "At the end of the day, again, you have three starting-caliber centers. And it's just not going to work to anybody's advantage having that on the same team. That's how I'm looking at it. I'm not opposed to anything, but things need to be situated."
Noel has been clear from the jump that with the glut of big men on the roster, all he wanted was clarity as to how Philadelphia would proceed and what his role would be going forward.
But multiple sources told CSNNE.com that the 6-foot-11 from Malden, Mass., was open to the idea of being traded and that the Celtics were a team he wouldn’t mind joining.
However, that becomes more of a moot point in light of Simmons’ injury which will mark the fourth straight year that Philadelphia will be without one of its prized, lottery-pick (top-14) big men due to an injury for an extended period of time.
Noel fans should soak in Tuesday’s preseason game between Boston and Philadelphia.
Not only because it’ll be the first glimpse at this year’s Celtics team against someone other than itself.
But also because it’ll be one of the few times Celtics fans will see Noel this season on the floor with the Celtics, although him still being in a Sixers uniform probably isn’t what you had in mind.