Nerlens…Now is Not the Time

Pulling the trigger now on a Nerlens Noel or Jahlil Okafor trade would be like slow cooking ribs for three hours then throwing them in the microwave to finish.

Noel rocked Philadelphia with comments over the weekend and then doubled down on those sentiments at media day on Monday, “I think it’s just silly…this situation that we are in now with three starting centers, with the departure of Sam Hinkie, I would have figured that management would be able to get something done this summer…I think something needs to happen.”

Sorry Nerlens, but 76ers shouldn’t be forced to settle this situation prematurely in order to satisfy your individual needs.  This is about the bigger picture.

 

 

The 76ers are finally in a position of power moving forward from both a talent perspective as well as the salary cap. To get to this position though, wasn’t easy, it put fans through an incredible amount of pain.  Years of parents telling their kid’s sad faces ‘We’re not going to the Sixers game because they suck, Timmy.’

This thought was echoed by GM Bryan Colangelo earlier today when asked about Noels statement “I think anybody that has been through the last 3 years deserves some sort of empathy,” now the tide is finally turning, and the front office owes it to the fans to not give up that position by settling for a quick trade.

“We certainly listened because a lot of people thought we were in a corner. We never felt like we were in that corner. We feel like we’ve got three talented players that we are going to obviously let work itself out,” Jerry Colangelo said when recently asked about the rumors.

Being patient and not going for the low hanging fruit will prove to be a very prudent move by the new GM conglomerate that is Bryan and Jerry Colangelo as there are numerous positives stemming from this move and waiting to pull the trigger will ultimately give this roster the best chance to maximize its potential.

One of the arguments made to trade Okafor or Noel is to do it while they still have value.  Well, barring an injury I would argue GM’s have seen enough games from these two that they have a pretty set trade floor.  With Noel, everyone knows you have a defensive impact player/rim protector who could become a growing threat on the offensive glass.  Okafor has cemented himself as a solid post scorer who has significant room to improve defensively.  What we don’t know about these two is how well they will play with rookie Ben Simmons, and that discovery is worth being patient.  Finding out which player meshes best with Simmons will pay dividends for years to come.

Colangelo also touched on perhaps the biggest variable in this equation earlier today“a lot will depend on the health of Joel Embiid”.  Embiid will be making his Sixers debut this year and based off his social media posts, he’s going to the hall of fame.  I’m pulling for Embiid to realize his bags of potential just as much as the next guy but with that potential comes more health scares.  No one has seen Embiid play an NBA game due to his foot injury and that will cause him to be spoon fed minutes to start the season.  Until Embiid proves he can handle heavy minutes it will be good to have Okafor and Noel just in case the worst happens (Google Greg Oden).  If Embiid goes down it may be imperative to the future success of the franchise ethat Noel is still on the roster as the defensive stalwart that Okafor simply is not.

Another byproduct from going into the season with a full shelf full of big men is that the League’s mid table contenders may get a little more desperate for a trade.  Whether that comes from an injury or an over reach by an opposing GM, it doesn’t matter, the 7-6 will benefit.  The Colangelos haven’t traded one of these big men because the offers as well as the leverage haven’t been there.  Well, the further we go into the season the more leverage Bryan will have, and that could make a huge difference.

Now I’m not saying that if Philly were to make a move right now that it would be the worst thing in the world.  In fact, a trade does have to be made at some point with Noel’s if th efinal year of his rookie deal.  The Colangelos may be more capable than we think and pull a steal.  I just believe the longer the Sixers wait the better chance that the right move is made for the franchise.

Most recently the case example to look at would be the Andrew Wiggins for Kevin Love trade that the Cavs GM (Lebron) made.  I’m sure the Cavs won’t be complaining too much coming off an NBA Championship, but should they be going for their third straight?  Wiggins was traded before seeing the results on the court with Lebron and that may have cost them that initial championship series vs the Warriors.  By letting Wiggins rookie contract go and replacing it with Love’s hefty deal ($15mill at the time), it forced Lebron to sign that geriatric supporting cast of Mike Miller, Kendrick Perkins, Brendan Haywood, Shawn Marion and James Jones that literally was unusable in the Finals.  Wiggins’ contract would’ve allowed the Cavs to really shore up the bench, not to mention Wiggins himself could’ve picked up the slack for an injury to say, Kyrie?

Bottom line, are the Sixers in win now mode? No.  Do Sixers fans care how many jump shots Ben Simmons takes this year? No.  You know why?  Because this is a research year to see how things develop.  It’s a slow cook process.  Take your time Bryan, we have faith you will get it right.

 

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