The Dallas Mavericks’ season isn’t going well, but that was somewhat by design. The Mavs are a a young team in the early stages of a rebuilding process that could (and likely will) take years.
While no one is surprised to see them struggle to start the season, the odd treatment and refusal to play young center Nerlens Noel. Noel has appeared in 18 games, but hasn’t played more than 5:35 of a game since Nov. 4. In those nine games, he’s basically gotten garbage time minutes, with a few DNPs sprinkled in.
For whatever reason, Noel has fallen completely out of favor with Rick Carlisle and the Mavs as he plays out his one year, qualifying offer contract before hitting free agency in 2018. On Saturday afternoon, the saga of Noel and the Mavs took a new, strange turn as Noel was spotted at halftime in the media dining room swiping a hot dog. After the game, Noel and Carlisle shrugged it off (Noel did not play), but on Sunday, the two addressed it further in a pretty funny post-practice moment with the media.
The two seem to not really be at odds with each other too much, having a light-hearted back-and-forth about hot dogs and how Carlisle’s going to try and get a local hot dog stand to give Noel his own dog (relish only, how Nerlens likes it). That said, we know there’s some kind of tension between them and this feels like a much lesser (and less awkward) version of that incredibly uncomfortable Dwight Howard-Stan Van Gundy press conference in Orlando.
Whatever is causing an issue between Noel and Carlisle that’s keeping the young big man off the floor, it’s at least not serious enough to cause them to not have a little fun over his halftime hot dog excursion.