The 2017 free agent frenzy has ground to halt the past few weeks as most of the big-name players have settled on their new locations or re-signed with their incumbent teams. But there are still a number of second and third-tier guys out there looking for a home. One of those is Mavs big man Nerlens Noel, who has yet to secure an offer from Dallas he can stomach, let alone any other team.
Noel, who came to Dallas at the trade deadline last season from Philadelphia, is a restricted free agent, and it appears the Mavs’ front office is content to wait and see what his market value is before handing him an offer. It’s a scenario that Noel clearly isn’t happy about, as he would like to have his situation resolved sooner than later, as his agent noted to Eddie Sefko of Sports Day:
“We’re very disappointed with where things stand,” [agent Happy] Walters said. “Nerlens loves Dallas and spent June there working out, but we’re still waiting on a serious offer.”
The options for Noel are limited. He could take whatever offer the Mavericks submit, and clearly the numbers they are talking about aren’t to Noel’s liking. He could sign the qualifying offer that will remain on the table until Oct. 16, which is about $6 million.
The problem for Noel is that he has pretty much zero leverage here. Teams aren’t lining up to sign him to an offer sheet, and his offensive limitations are a big reason for that. He has all the skills to be an elite defender in the paint, but the league’s pendulum has long been swinging toward more versatile bigs who can stretch the floor with their outside shooting.
Add to that the way the NBA’s economic boom has slowed after last summer’s spending spree and the way many teams that entered this year with significant cap space have already used it up, and Noel could be waiting a very long time before he gets the type of offer he’s hoping for.