Nerlens Noel hasn't turned out to be the player most assumed coming out of Kentucky. Even after tearing his ACL in college, he still went No. 6 overall to the 76ers in the 2013 NBA Draft. He played in Philly for two and a half years and was then traded to the Mavericks mid-season in 2017.
His minutes decreased each year in Philly, and this past season saw the lowest average of his career at 15.7. Noel has become a decent bench player, but he clearly wants to be more than that next season. Which is why he couldn't turn down a chance to head to Oklahoma City.
Was told Nerlens had somewhat better financial offers but his camp wanted him in a very structured team dynamic and when Thunder became an options money took a back seat https://t.co/SmyLEWHmD6— Steve Kyler (@stevekylerNBA) July 15, 2018
Dallas was reportedly prepared to offer him more money than other suitors, but the 24-year-old felt the fit wasn't right. In the end, he decided to sign with the Thunder for less money, but potentially a better situation for his career going forward.
In the end, the Thunder got themselves a steal. Before Noel was added to the roster, fellow Kentucky product Dakari Johnson was Steven Adams' backup at center. As he offered nothing but 1.8 points per game, Noel is a solid upgrade.