Friday 20th April 2018,
The Hoop Doctors

Nerlens Noel Isn’t Worried About NBA Future Despite Falling Out of Dallas Mavericks’ Rotation

Nerlens Noel Isn’t Worried About NBA Future Despite Falling Out of Dallas Mavericks’ Rotation

Nerlens Noel

Nerlens Noel’s situation with the Dallas Mavericks continues to rank among the NBA’s most wild roller coaster rides in recent memory.

First he excelled after being shipped to Big D from the Philadelphia 76ers—particularly when slotted alongside Dirk Nowitzki, according to NBA.com. Then, in restricted free agency, the Mavericks offered him life-changing money: roughly $70 million over four years.

Nerlens Noel turned it down.

Then he fired his agent.

And then he signed a one-year, $4.2 million qualifying offer.

And then, inevitably, he fell out of the Mavericks’ rotation.

And now he’s sidelined for the next four to six weeks after electing to have surgery on a torn ligament in his left thumb.

After all this, knowing what he knows now, you might think Noel regrets his decision to forego that $70 million offer. You might think he’s worried about this upcoming July, when he’ll enter the open market again, presumably with a resume that’s worse for wear. You might think he’s frustrated and confused, maybe even a little fearful. But he’s not. As he told Bleacher Report’s Yaron Weitzman, he doesn’t regret anything that’s happened to this point:

“I most definitely don’t regret anything. I’m not nervous because I know my abilities,” he told Bleacher Report. “I know what I’m capable of. I know what I can get on the court any time, day or night, and do. It’s simply getting the opportunity to show it.”

At 23, going on 24 in April, Noel does have reason for optimism. Non-unicorn bigs once again figure to get squeezed in free agency this summer, and Noel has done absolutely nothing in 2017-18 to replicate last summer’s value, but he’s young enough for some team to take a gamble on what he accomplished during his partial-season tear in Dallas. If nothing else, he should have the option of joining a cap-rich rebuilding squad on a one-year deal that gives him a chance to rehabilitate his stock in a higher-volume role.
That technically shouldn’t be enough for him to feel totally okay about last summer’s free agency, but it’s a bright enough silver lining to keep him on the right side of optimistic.

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