The Brooklyn Nets shored up their thin frontline by signing veteran center Nerlens Noel after completing his buyout with the Detroit Pistons.
ESPN first reported the news. The deal is a 10-day contract.
Noel, 28, was a key cog of the New York Knicks playoff run in 2021, especially when starting center Mitchell Robinson went down with an injury.
He returns to New York, this time in Brooklyn, after an injury-riddled final season with the Knicks and a limited role with the rebuilding Pistons. He is expected to serve as Nic Claxton’s backup, especially with the uncertainty of Ben Simmon’s return due to lingering knee and back injuries.
The Knicks traded Noel at the end of last season as part of the salary dump move that opened up cap space to pursue rising star, Jalen Brunson. He was limited to 25 games last season due to plantar fasciitis in his left foot. But Noel wasn’t a fit for the Pistons’ timeline. He only played in Detroit for 14 games, including three starts, averaging 2.3 points and 2.6 rebounds.
Noel has career averages of 7.2 points and 6.1 rebounds, 1.1 assists, 1.3 steals and 1.5 blocks. The defensive-minded center has 17 playoff games under his belt.
His defense and experience are a welcome addition for the Nets, who are trying to stay afloat in the East after trading away their superstars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving out West.
After their 28-point comeback win in Boston Friday night, the Nets (35-28) are 2.5 games ahead of the Miami Heat (33-31) for the sixth and last outright playoff spot.
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