Let’s forget for a moment that he’s a Massachusetts native, which I have been told multiple times has “absolutely zero” to do with Boston’s interest in him. Noel is an athletic, rim-protecting big man whose biggest knock up to this point in his career is how injuries seem to dog him at every turn.
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And while no team likes the idea of players grumbling about minutes, there’s a different tone when I talk to league executives about Noel and what’s happening in Philadelphia. “I never like to hear that stuff, guys complaining about minutes publicly,” an assistant GM told CSNNE.com on Saturday. “But Philadelphia…they have too many bigs and they’re trying to make it work but you know and I know and Nerlens knows, somebody is going to get the short end of things when it comes to minutes. And Nerlens doesn’t want to be that guy.
The assistant GM added, “young guys don’t mind learning and not playing if the guy ahead of him is better or more experienced. They see it as paying their dues. But that’s not the case with Nerlens. He’s as good or better than all their bigs except maybe [Joel] Embiid. So he’s like, ‘why am I not playing?’ And whatever they’re telling him, it’s not what wants to hear for sure.”
Noel has not asked for a trade, but multiple league sources told CSNNE.com that he is “very open” to being traded if the Sixers decide to make that decision. Another league source contacted by CSNNE.com on Thursday morning indicated that the Celtics still have a high level of interest in Noel but no deal is imminent.
Nerlens Noel: I’m blessed to be from Boston. Love my city.
Based on Nerlens Noel’s social media posts recently, it appears he’s taking such sentiments to heart. And if he is indeed on the move, he’s more than open to the idea of playing for his hometown team — the Boston Celtics. On his Twitter page, Noel’s bio reads, “#BostonStrong – Former Kentucky Wildcat – Current Philadelphia 76er!!” The Everett, Mass., native has a similar message on the bio page of his Facebook account as well. Who refers to the team they play for as “current?” A player who wisely suspects that “current” label will become “former” sooner rather than later.
Kris Dunn already has said he wants to play for the 76ers. The Sixers, who are interested in acquiring the third pick, have an interest in the former Providence point guard.The Sixers are known to be shopping players, primarily centers Jahlil Okafor and Nerlens Noel, and sources say the Celtics want the Sixers to include Noel in any deal with them.
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December 1, 2021 | 6:22 pm EST Update
Aaron J. Fentress: Damian Lillard (abdomen) and Nassir Little (ankle) will each miss several games. Lillard is out at least 10 days while Little is out at least a week. All of those days of “no injuries to report” or having one guy down screamed that bad luck was around the corner for #RipCity