ESPN’s Chris Haynes broke the news Saturday afternoon:
Nerlens Noel signs 1-year, $4.1 million QO to return to Mavs, league sources tell ESPN. Reported $17M "offer " was non-existent in any form.
Nerlens Noel Signs One-Year Qualifying Offer With Dallas Mavericks
Noel’s contract will take him through the end of the 2017-18 season. Noel was originally looking for a big payday in free agency, but Haynes reports that the Mavs declined to offer him the $17 million annually that he was looking for. However, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports that Noel declined the four-year, $70 million contract that Dallas offered him on July 1. If so, Noel may have cost himself a lot of money. He’ll have to prove himself as a key cog on the Mavs this season in order to earn a bigger contract as an unrestricted free agent next summer.
Noel averaged 8.7 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 1.0 assists per game last season for the Philadelphia 76ers and the Mavericks. He’s had an up-and-down NBA career thus far, but some of that is not his fault. He shared minutes with a number of bigs in Philly, which prevented him from settling into a rhythm. With that said, Noel has always been a gifted defender, as his career defensive box plus-minus is 3.9. He has a long way to go on the offensive end, though.
Going forward, Noel needs to become a defensive force as the starting center in Dallas. He still has a while before he will be a finished product in the association. He’ll also need to stay healthy in the near future, though, as injuries have been an issue for him throughout his career. The Mavs will trust Noel to keep contributing both as a rim protector and offensive lob recipient in order to help them contend for a playoff spot in the 2017-18 season.
Noel is going into his fourth season in the NBA, during which he’ll be 23 years old. Until this point, he’s played with the Mavericks and 76ers, who dealt him to Dallas midseason. The 76ers traded for Noel on draft day after New Orleans selected him sixth overall in 2013.