It is has been nothing short of a frustrating situation in free agency for veteran big man Nerlens Noel as he remains on the open market as a restricted free agent this offseason.
There has been little to no movement on the Dallas Mavericks’ front to work out a new deal to bring back the 23-year-old next season and possibly beyond that. In light of that, Dirk Nowitzki recently gave his take on the situation during a recent interview with Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated.
“He’s so young and so athletic. I’d love to keep him,” Nowitzki said. “I’m sure that is what the Mavs are thinking. … We obviously traded for him last year with the hope he will stay with this franchise for a long time.
“I understand the business side of it. He’s a restricted free agent. I’m sure [Mavericks owner] Mark [Cuban] and [general manager] Donnie [Nelson], the leaders of the franchise, are trying to play the right business move. We’ll have to wait to see how it all ends up.”
Nowitzki clearly wants to bring Noel back in the fold given what he saw from him this past season after he was acquired prior to the trade deadline. However, this hasn’t exactly translated into the Mavericks putting forth a strong effort up to this point to retain him on a new deal.
It has created a strong level of frustration from Noel with Dallas choosing to let the process linger on. There had been reports prior to the start of free agency that several teams were interested in potentially offering him a max contract in free agency, but the Atlanta Hawks have been the only team to voice their interest in his services.
What makes this a complicated situation is that he is a restricted free agent, which gives the Mavericks the final say if they want to bring him back or let him walk. It likely has contributed to the lack of interest across the league. Ultimately, it will be up to the front office to determine his Noel’s fate this offseason.