Center Nerlens Noel has agreed to a buyout agreement with the Detroit Pistons, making him a free agent and possibly a valuable asset for a contending team. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported earlier Monday that the veteran center is the newest addition to the 2022-23 NBA season’s buyout market.
Here are three potential teams that could pursue the defensive specialist to increase their chances of contending for a championship.
The Lakers (29-32) have capitalized on excellent momentum after the All-Star break. They’re on a three-game win streak and could improve their status this season with the addition of Nerlens Noel. The Lakers need another defensive specialist to protect the rim, and Noel could be the right guy.
The Dallas Mavericks (32-30) can win the NBA championship with stars Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving this season. However, they lack the defense to help them become an elite team in the Western Conference.
While they have JaVale McGee, he needs more help protecting the rim, and Noel could be a huge help.
Golden State Warriors
Draymond Green is the only defensive weapon the Golden State Warriors (31-30) have in the paint. For the team to be a legit contender, they’ll need to work on bringing in better interior defenders.
Noel is an excellent fit for the Warriors this season, and the organization should go after him.
How has Nerlens Noel played this season?
Nerlens Noel hasn’t played a ton for the Pistons this season. The veteran big man has dealt with various injuries that have held him back from contributing to the team. The Pistons aren’t a playoff team and are continuously developing the talents of their young core, which is why Noel hasn’t had a solid role in the team.
He’s got enough experience for teams to pursue him in the open market now that the buyout with the Pistons has been finalized. Earlier this season, the Mavs reportedly reached out for a potential trade regarding Noel. It will be Noel’s second stint with Dallas if they choose to sign him for the rest of the season.
Noel has played only 14 games this season for Detroit and has averaged 2.3 points, 2.6 rebounds, and 0.6 blocks while shooting 40% from the field. These are the lowest stats of his career, including a career-low 10.9 minutes per game.