Report: Knicks, Clippers exploring Nerlens Noel trade
Is moving Nerlens Noel -- who’s due $9.24 million this season and $9.68 million next season -- to the Clippers next?
Noel could fit into the Serge Ibaka trade exception.
If unloading Noel for no salary in return, the Knicks would project to have about $25 million million in cap space. Maybe enough for Brunson.
Noel is coming a down season that included foot issues. But when healthy, the 28-year-old is quite helpful in a limited role as an active defender, plus rebounder and efficient finisher.
Adding his salary would be quite costly, especially given the luxury-tax ramifications. But Clippers owner Steve Ballmer has proven a willingness to spend big, giving his team an advantage.
L.A. could use a backup center with Isaiah Hartenstein hitting free agency. John Wall is seemingly taking the Clippers’ mid-level exception, leaving just the Non-Bird Exception (120% of the minimum salary) for Hartenstein. Though the promise of Early Bird Rights next summer could intrigue Hartenstein, that might not be enough to keep him.
Noel would be a heck of a replacement (if healthy) – one possible only because of Ballmer’s seemingly limitless budget.