The Philadelphia 76ers job was just made a little easier today with the news that Nerlens Noel would prefer a trade out of Philadelphia. To many in the loop, this is not a shocker. Noel’s time in Philly is done. The team has made their path in the road and will move forward with Joel Embiid, Jahlil Okafor and rookie, Ben Simmons.
Here is what Noel had to say earlier this year about the log jam the 76ers have in the post:
“I think it’s just silly . . . this situation that we are in now with three starting centers,” Noel said on the eve of the Sixers’ media day. “With the departure of [former general manager and president] Sam Hinkie, I would have figured that management would be able to get something done this summer.”
Once Simmons was drafted and Embiid proved his worth this preseason, the writing was on the wall for either Noel or Okafor. Now the team doesn’t have to make that tough decision. It was made for them. Noel wants out but where can the team send him and still get value back?
As Marc Stein reported:
Noel has yet to appear in a game this season after electing to undergo arthroscopic knee surgery last month, but word is he’d still prefer to be shipped to a new address with so many big men to battle for playing time in Philly. Count on the Sixers to accommodate him eventually
Let’s take a look at three trade options the 76ers will have.
If the 76ers are serious about parting ways with Noel they must get an offer that will help their fans for more than one season. The Celtics have offered Marcus Smart in the past, while that may be good as the team searches for either a PG or SG he still doesn’t bring to the table, production wise what Noel can. But if the Celtics were to sweeten the deal with a draft pick and maybe Avery Bradley then the 76ers should think long and hard about this. Bradley can take over as the starting PG and provide a much better balance than Bayless. This would be a wise decision for the 76ers.
The Suns have too much talent in the backcourt, meaning one of those all-purpose guards will get his walking papers. Bledsoe can still put points on the board and play solid defense, just what the 76ers need to pair with the young frontcourt. The Suns will be okay with Knight and Booker starting with Goodwin and Jenkins in the reserve role. The Suns still have Alex Len and Tyson Chandler and one can still be moved. But a player with Noel’s upside may be too much to pass up. The 76ers have the cap space to eat Bledsoe’s salary if a deal can be done. Bledsoe can play both backcourt positions which will bode well for a 76ers teams in need of defense and a player that can score off the dribble.[embedit snippet=”2″]
There will be no loser in this trade. The 76ers will get a PG that can produce, as Rubio is more of a pass first, pass second and shoot third, guard. The Timberwolves will get a much-needed defensive presence in the post to pair with Karl-Anthony Towns. It may take the 76ers a season or two to get where they would like to be but the Wolves, depending on how fast Dunn can pick up and master the NBA fast pace game, may be set for the 2016-17 season. If Rubio can penetrate into the heart of a defense he will have options on the wins and in the post with Nik Stauskas, Gerald Henderson and Dario Saric.