NBA Trade Rumors: Nerlens Noel Wants Out of Philly, Trade Imminent
Nerlens Noel has reportedly expressed his consent to be traded out of Philadelphia as the Sixers try to figure out a way how to balance their roster that has too many potential All-Star centers at the moment.
Drafting three young stars playing in the same position has always been considered an impending problem for the Sixers in the future. The future has arrived with Joel Embiid, the team's third overall pick in 2014, now finally playing.
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Embiid's presence has expectedly affected the dynamics of Philly's frontcourt rotation with Okafor, last year's third overall selection, getting relegated to the backup role.
Philadelphia head coach Brett Brown recently admitted his dilemma of trying to give Embiid and Okafor a fair amount of playing time each. He knows his problems will soon escalate when Noel, the sixth overall pick of the 2013 draft, returns from a knee injury in a few weeks.
"It's going to be hard," Brown said, via Bleacher Report. "You can talk about playing two of those guys together to free things up."
Noel, Okafor, and Embiid are all natural centers and Brown believes sliding any one of them to the power forward position would not maximize their true potentials. Plus, it could also affect the playing time of this year's top draft pick Ben Simmons when he comes back from his own injury late in the season.
Many NBA analysts agree that of the three, Noel is the "odd man out". With his willingness to be shipped out of Philadelphia evident, it seems like he is leaving the club no choice but to trade him soonest.
NBC Sports' Pro Basketball Talk noted that the Sixers initially wanted to trade Okafor as they wanted to keep Noel for his defensive abilities. However, after the latter's public admission that he wants out of the frontcourt logjam in Philadelphia, he has now become the club's first choice to dispatch when the opportunity arrives.
Noel is also set to become a free agent next summer after the Sixers failed to give him a contract extension before the deadline earlier this month. The former Kentucky standout has admitted that he will test the free-agency market when that time comes so a trade is expected to happen as soon as he comes back from injury.