Nets sign free agent center Nerlens Noel

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Brooklyn Nets sign free agent center Nerlens Noel

The Brooklyn Nets are signing free agent center Nerlens Noel, per sources. The nine-year veteran was waived this past Monday by the Detroit Pistons after completing a buyout. Noel’s current dead contract for this season was worth $9.24 million.

Last July, the New York Knicks traded Noel to the Detroit Pistons, along with cash, Alec Burks, a 2023 second-round draft pick, and a 2026 second-rounder round draft pick. In return, the Knicks received Nikola Radicevic and a 2025 second-rounder.

According to a few NBA betting sites, the Nets now have 18th-ranked odds to win the championship. After Brooklyn traded away Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, sportsbooks dropped the Eastern Conference contender out of the top 10.

Through 14 appearances this season, Noel is averaging career lows of 2.3 points, 2.6 rebounds, and 10.9 minutes per game. He’s also shooting 40% from the field and 70% at the foul line. The veteran will serve as a backup center behind Nic Claxton.

When healthy, the former Piston adds depth to the Nets’ second unit. However, Noel has struggled to overcome a number of injuries throughout his basketball career. While with the Kentucky Wildcats, the 6-foot-11 big man tore his left ACL prior to entering the 2013 NBA Draft.

Brooklyn Nets sign free agent center Nerlens Noel

Noel missed the entire 2013-14 season with the Philadelphia 76ers due to knee surgery. In February 2016, the New England native was then ruled out for the Rising Stars Challenge because of tendinitis in his right knee.

Later in October 2016, the center missed three to five weeks due to an inflamed plica above his left knee that required surgery.

After Philadelphia traded Noel to the Dallas Mavericks, the Kentucky product went on to have surgery to repair a torn ligament in his left thumb in December 2017. This is why Nets fans might be questioning this signing.

Furthermore, Nerlens Noel played only 25 games with the Knicks last season, stemming from a plantar fasciitis diagnosis. He was ruled out for the remainder of the season in February 2022. So, it should go without saying that Noel’s injury history is quite extensive.

Prior to Noel signing with the Nets, anonymous NBA executives were unsure whether or not they could trust the injury-prone player to stay on the court. To make matters worse, the center is only 28 years old. Noel’s production took a nosedive after failing to eliminate PHP, which is understandable.

However, based on previous injuries, this move doesn’t bode well for Brooklyn. It’s up to the 2014-15 All-Rookie member to prove doubters wrong. Can he stay healthy? That’s the ultimate question.

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