The Sixers made their first move of the NBA trade deadline with a surprising deal that sent Nerlens Noel to the Mavericks for a first-round pick, Justin Anderson and Andrew Bogut.
Most expected Jahlil Okafor to be the young big man moved by Philadelphia on Thursday, as most of the chatter had been about Okafor for the past few weeks and the talk of Noel being traded had been mostly silent. The market clearly wasn’t what they hoped for in terms of return offered for Okafor, and when the opportunity to get a young wing and draft pick came up for Noel they cleared up their frontcourt log jam that way.
The Noel trade happened while the Sixers were at their practice facility, and Noel stopped by to bid his final goodbyes to his suddenly former teammates and coaches. Noel and Joel Embiid shared an embrace and a quick conversation before Noel exited the building.
Embiid then took to Twitter to offer his thoughts on the trade, wishing his “best friend” all the best and asking fans to continue trusting the process.
Embiid’s post and the video of Noel’s goodbyes are a reminder of the personal relationships that get affected by trades, but Embiid, ever the optimist, sees this as a good thing for his friend and the Sixers moving forward.