Knicks’ chances of retaining Nerlens Noel dwindling as Nets and Cavs enter the fold

The New York Knicks will be looking this off-season for center help as Nerlens Noel and Taj Gibson prepare to hit the open market in August. Whether they allocate resources in the draft or free agency, bolstering the position behind Mitchell Robinson is a priority.

Ideally, finding a big man who can also help offensively would be ideal, as both Noel and Gibson struggled to produce in that category. However, Noel had one of his best seasons defensively, recording a career-high 2.2 blocks per game. He also contributed 5.1 points, 6.4 rebounds, and shot 61% from the field. Clearly, he’s not much of a force regarding points on the scoreboard, but is adequate in the paint and came up clutch on multiple occasions during the Knicks’ path to securing the 4th seed in the Eastern Conference.

If President Leon Rose was interested in bringing back Noel, he’s going to have multiple suitors this off-season after having a bounce-back year, starting 41 games after starting fewer than 16 since the 2016 season.

According to Ian Begley of SNY, several teams are interested in signing Nerlens Noel this off-season:

Mavs are among teams expected to have interest in free agent C Nerlens Noel, per league sources. Nets are also expected to have Noel on radar, depending on how offseason plays out/money available to them. TOR & CHA also expected to have interest in Noel, as

For a player like Noel, joining a team on the verge of a championship could be intriguing, which makes the Nets the obvious landing spot. Last season, the Knicks signed him to a one-year, %5 million deal, making him an affordable piece to help in the paint, where the Nets struggled defensively. While his loss will be felt, the Knicks desperately need more scoring production from their 5s, so letting him walk won’t be the end of the world.
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