NBA free agency 2018: Thunder, Nerlens Noel reportedly reach two-year deal in good gamble for both sides
Noel, who played only 30 games last season with the Mavs, gets a fresh start in OKC
The No. 6 overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft, Nerlens Noel's career has not gone to plan so far. He sat out his first season due to injury, showed some promise early on with the Philadelphia 76ers, but was then buried on the bench after being traded to the Dallas Mavericks during the 2016-17 season. In a season and a half with the Mavericks, he got on the court for just 52 games, starting only 18 of them.
Now, Noel is getting a fresh start. According to a report from Yahoo Sports' Shams Charania, Noel has agreed to a two-year deal with the Oklahoma City Thunder. It comes with a player option for the second year.
The Thunder have already had a successful offseason, convincing Paul George to stay with the team. In what came as a surprise to many, George spurned the Lakers to with the Thunder. Now, they've made an interesting pick up here with the Noel deal.
He clearly has talent, but there were questions about his work ethic with the Mavericks. Plus, he was suspended for five games at the end of last season for violating the league's anti-drug policy, which contributed to his value dropping this summer.
In the end, this is a good gamble for both the Thunder and Noel. OKC gets a talented, defensive-minded big man to add to their frontcourt depth for not much money. Meanwhile, Noel gets to go to a playoff team with a chance to rehab his image and value. If he plays well, he can opt out next summer and potentially get a bigger deal somewhere.
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