Nerlens Noel And Alec Burks Will Reportedly Return To The Knicks On Three-Year Contracts

Nerlens Noel was once thought to be a cornerstone of the Process-era Sixers, but found himself one of the odd men out when Joel Embiid emerged as a budding superstar. In the years since, Noel has steadily proven himself as a tremendous defender in the NBA, particularly finding success the last two seasons in Oklahoma City and New York.

With the Knicks last season, Noel averaged 5.1 points, 6.4 rebounds, 2.2 blocks, and 1.1 assists per game, stepping into a larger role after Mitchell Robinson went down with injury and helping to hold together the middle of one of the league’s best defenses. As a free agent in a rather weak big man class, Noel figured to get plenty of interest from contenders seeking to bolster their frontcourt rotations and add a legit rim protector to their bench, as well as teams with frontcourt vacancies who might think Noel could pop even more in a bigger role.

But ultimately, Noel ended up re-signing with the Knicks on a reported three-year deal worth $32 million.

This is a strong payday for Noel, who has bounced around a bit in recent years despite his strong defensive impact. Seemingly in conjunction with their overall plan, the Knicks also moved swiftly to lock up Alec Burks. The veteran guard enjoyed a productive campaign in New York last season, and Burks will reportedly return on a three-year pact as well.

It remains to be seen as to what New York’s full designs are for their cap space, but these two deals both represent reasonable financial investments in competent rotation players. Burks had the best three-point shooting season (41.5 percent) of his career in 2020-21, and that marksmanship, combined with his overall shot creation profile, is key for a Knicks team that struggled with floor balance during their encouraging season.