Despite the uproar from Sixers fans across Philadelphia, the trade of Nerlens Noel to Dallas is the best move for him and the team.
Another NBA trade deadline has come and gone, and another day of high drama has engulfed the Philadelphia 76ers organization.
First came the news late Wednesday that the team had sent Ersan Ilyasova to the Atlanta Hawks for center Tiago Splitter, a 2017 second-round pick and the option to swap 2017 second-round selections.
The loss of Ilyasova left many fans a bit miffed, but with Dario Saric waiting in the wings they understood. This way Saric can show what he can really do as a starter and the Sixers get something for Ilyasova, who goes into the offseaosn as an unrestricted free agent.
But Sixers president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo was far from done.
Later Thursday news broke that Nerlens Noel had been traded to the Denver Nuggets for Andrew Bogut, Justin Anderson and a protected first-round pick.
With the first-round pick top-18 protected, it will in all likelihood turn into a pair of second-round picks, one in 2017 and another in 2018. And with Bogut an unrestricted free agent after this season, it looks like the Sixers will simply buy him out.
Which means that in essence, the Sixers traded Noel for Anderson, a second year shooting guard who has averaged 6.5 points, 0.6 assists and 2.9 rebounds this season while playing 13.9 minutes a game. Most analysts feel that Anderson’s potential never came close to being tapped by the Mavericks, who buried him in the depths of the roster and just didn’t have time to nurture along a rookie. Something the Sixers have been very good at over the last few years.
And while the trade may seem unspectacular on the surface, it was the right move for the Sixers to make.
Noel will go into the offseason as a restricted free agent. It was painfully obvious that the Sixers did not plan to retain his services after the season ends and instead of letting Noel walk for nothing, they got what they could at the deadline.
To those that have been lighting up social media saying the Sixers should have waited and tried to re-sign him, that would have been a mistake.
Noel can and should be a starter in the NBA. He is a dynamic player who can play defense like few others. To think he would have been happy being a backup to future All-Star Joel Embiid going forward is foolish. Noel has too much talent to be just a sixth man in the league. He deserves a chance to start and see if he can be “the man” on a team.
Sure, Colangelo did a less than stellar job in his first trade deadline as Sixers GM. The whole situation with Jahlil Okafor is a dumpster fire that refuses to go out. But when it comes to Noel, if this was the best the team could do, so be it. Hopefully Anderson will prove that he deserved to go in the first-round and become the wing player the 76ers desperately needs.
With the departure of Noel, the player that many say The Process began with now has a chance to see what he can do in an organization that isn’t perpetually tanking. He will have his first opportunity to do something he hasn’t been afforded in his short NBA career.
Nerlens Noel will be able to play to win.