After reports surfaced yesterday that free agent center Nerlens Noel had narrowed down his team of choice to include Oklahoma City, Shams Charania reported this afternoon that Noel has agreed to a deal with the Thunder.
Free agent Nerlens Noel has agreed to a deal with the Oklahoma City Thunder, league sources tell Yahoo.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) July 2, 2018
The deal is for two years with a player option in the second year, and it is for the league minimum. Noel was hoping for a big contract extension with the Dallas Mavericks a year ago since he was a restricted free agent, but no other teams showed much interest, and in the end, he was forced to accept a $4.1 million qualifying offer for the season.
Not sure if this is out there yet, but can confirm Nerlens Noel is signing with the Thunder on a minimum deal. Giving him a player option will cause the Thunder to have to spend more this year, though (the option means it doesn't fall under the minimum exception).
— Tim Bontemps (@TimBontemps) July 2, 2018
Noel played sparingly in the 2017-18 season, due mostly to a torn thumb ligament which forced him to sit out 42 games, and then he missed the final five games of the season due to violating the NBA’s anti-drug policy. In the 30 games that he did play, he averaged a mere 4.4 points and 5.6 rebounds in 15.7 minutes per game.
While his stats are nothing to call home about, the type of player that Noel can be will at the least offer a hand to Steven Adams as a backup center. Part of the reason for Noel’s lack of playing time in Dallas was their roster setup, where as in Oklahoma City, he could be a nice addition. Noel is a long, athletic big who is almost like a taller Jerami Grant, and he has a similar play style which lends to blocked shots and monstrous dunks.
Noel’s skillset is one that should pair well with what the Thunder already has, and because his contract is for the league minimum, this could turn out to be a very good pickup for Sam Presti and the Oklahoma City Thunder.
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