Nerlens Noel, who was selected No. 6 overall in the 2013 NBA Draft, has had a tumultuous offseason as a free agent this year.
The Dallas Mavericks big man, who was traded to the team from the Philadelphia 76ers last season, is one of the top remaining unsigned players in basketball. When he did not sign a max contract as expected, he reportedly switched agents from Happy Walters to Rich Paul.
The 23-year-old Noel now has representation from Klutch Sports, who have previously handled restricted free agency for players including Tristan Thompson as well as Eric Bledsoe and Norris Cole. However, each took longer than initially expected.
Even rookie Terrance Ferguson (another Paul client) held out on signing his first NBA contract until July 28, weeks after expected.
While most of the money has dried up in the free agency market, Noel (on paper) may be forced to accept a $4.18 million qualifying offer from Dallas. However, with Paul now leading negotiations, this may not be the case.
Though it may feel like longer because it has been a crazy summer, it has been just seven weeks since free agency began. If his history as an agent is any indication, Noel may not sign for another nine weeks.
Tristan Thompson — 16 Weeks
During the 2015 offseason, Thompson had a lengthy contract holdout after turning down a four-year, $52 million offer from the Cleveland Cavaliers. He eventually accepted an offer for a five-year, $82 million deal.
Paul said that if Thompson had accepted the qualifying offer from Cleveland, it would be his final season playing for the Cavaliers.
JR Smith — 15 Weeks
Matt Moore explained this tendency when discussing the JR Smith free agency last offseason (via CBS Sports):
Paul has shown a willingness for long holdouts that get resolved at the last minute before with Eric Bledsoe in Phoenix and Smith’s teammate Tristan Thompson.
Smith did not agree to a deal until October 14, 2016 – less than two weeks before the season began.
Eric Bledsoe — 12 weeks
Bledsoe signed a lucrative five-year, $70 million deal with the Suns in September 2014 even though no other team gave an offer sheet.
Norris Cole — 11 weeks
Cole eventually accepted a qualifying offer from the Pelicans during the 2015 offseason, which may end up being the fate of Noel in Dallas as well.