The 76ers have traded their longest tenured player of their young roster; Nerlens Noel is now a Dallas Maverick. Nerlens Noel was the physical embodiment of “the process” the trade to land the injured Center, was former General Manager Sam Hinkie’s first major move. The deal to land Noel involved trading Jrue Holiday, following his all-star season to gain the 6th overall pick and a top-5 protected draft pick.
The 2016-2017 season has been an extremely fun and exciting season for the 76ers, much different from the experience Nerlens Noel had early in his tenure with the franchise. After sitting out for the disastrous 2013-2014 season, in which the Sixers went 19-63, Noel participated from 2014-2016 winning only 28 games in 2 years. Just as the 76ers start to get their act together and generate momentum, this 2017 season, Noel gets traded to a team in the Western Conference whose record is one win better than the 76ers.
Noel’s defensive presence and composed demeanor, combined with his passion and loyalty have made him a fan favorite among Philadelphia fans. This trade benefits every party involved. This trade gives Noel an opportunity to work with one of the best big-men of our generation in Dirk Nowitzki and work with a different franchise before entering the free-agency pool. It gives the 76ers return on Noel, rather than gaining nothing and losing Noel in the offseason, they added young Justin Anderson, a first round pick (top-18 protected), and the addition of Andrew Bogut to the laundry list of 76ers who never were. The Dallas Mavericks are now given a chance to make a playoff push for an eighth seed and increase their chance of signing him in the offseason, if there is a good fit.
Granted, this is a low return on Nerlens Noel, but this trade tells me that many options were not there. This trade is only a failure for the 76ers if the 1st round pick converts into two 2nd round picks. Its fair to be under the impression that the front office was never going to pay Nerlens and that he would be lost, hoping for Anderson to grow and the Mavericks to make a playoff push is all that 76ers fans can hope for.
Noel has a special place in “process fans” hearts, and the decision to move him was a difficult one to make. He was a staple in the locker room, Joel Embiid tweeted that he was his “best friend” and Dario Saric shared a similar sentiment. The chemistry that has been a massively important part of the 76ers success will likely be effected with the exodus of Ersan Ilyasova and Nerlens Noel. Now Robert Covington who has been a member of the 76ers since 2014 is the longest tenured 76er and Jahlil Okafor’s role will likely increase. Thank you Nerlens Noel, Philadelphia wishes you the best.