Nerlens Noel has reached a deal to stay with the Dallas Mavericks. Noel will sign a one-year qualifying offer worth $4.1 million according to ESPN’s Chris Haynes. He will be an unrestricted free agent next offseason.
Noel was very active this summer except when it came to re-signing with the Mavs. In July, Noel attended one of the team's Summer League games in Las Vegas, having courtside conversations with Mavs owner Mark Cuban and head coach Rick Carlisle.
What could they be talking about? pic.twitter.com/XJ4EknMgZo— The Kobe Beef (@TheKobeBeef) July 12, 2017
Despite the smiles, the two sides weren’t close to a deal.
As the weeks passed and pen hadn’t touched paper, even Dirk Nowitzki commented on the situation.
“We traded for him last year to obviously keep him for the long run. I’m not sure what the latest is there since I’ve been traveling for a month. I haven’t heard, but I’m hoping that things will work out and that he’s coming back to the Mavs.”
Coming into the summer, it was expected that Noel would draw a number of offers from other teams, including some that could be worth the max. Dallas, though, could match any offer made to Noel or offer a max deal of their own. However, offers from other teams never materialized and Dallas’ remained the only option on the table. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski the Mavericks offered Noel a four-year deal worth $70 million on July 1. However, Noel asked the team for a max contract instead. Soon thereafter, Dallas withdrew its original offer, ESPN’s Tim MacMahon reports.
If Noel was looking for a payday similar to what his peers got a year ago, he completely misread the market. After last summer’s salary cap explosion, money has dried up.
Perhaps out of frustration, Noel tried to shift gears in his quest for a deal closer to what he wanted. He fired his agent, Happy Walters, who had expressed displeasure with negotiations with the Mavericks , and hired LeBron James’ agent, Rich Paul. Paul has a reputation for prolonged holdouts to get his clients what they want. It’s been highly successful in the past.
The looming threat of a longer holdout with Paul didn’t materialize. Noel bet on himself and lost. It’s unlikely that he is happy with the qualifying offer but according to Haynes’ report, it shouldn’t be viewed as an “adversarial” decision. Instead, it’s a platform for the two sides to “evaluate a larger body of work” in the coming season. However you look at it, the Mavs have their center.