June 02, 2016
Over the last few weeks, speculation around Philadelphia (and the NBA as a whole) has been that Bryan Colangelo’s first major personnel move as Sixers general manager would involve trading center Jahlil Okafor.
Shams Charania, who works with Adrian Wojnarowski over at The Vertical, is reporting that the move might actually involve another one of the Sixers’ young bigs:
Atlanta and Philadelphia are discussing a possible trade centered on Hawks guard Jeff Teague and 76ers center Nerlens Noel, league sources told The Vertical. The sides have discussed the deal recently, but an agreement isn’t imminent, sources said.
For Philadelphia, there has been strong interest over the past year in acquiring a high-end starting point guard.
Trading Noel for a package centered around Teague doesn’t make much sense from the Sixers’ perspective.
(If in fact the Sixers are looking to make this type of deal. This comes from a reputable source, but it's important to recognize we're looking at a pretty vague report at this point.)
Teague, a solid (read: good) starting point guard (15.7 PPG, 5.9 APG in 2016) and former All Star, would fill Philadelphia’s point guard hole in the short term -- the very short term, because he’s a free agent next summer -- but from here, the price is too steep. Noel is an athletic rim protector that has a chance to grow with the team's core, plus you would be swapping a 2017 restricted free agent for a 2017 unrestricted free agent.
Noel is close to six years younger than Teague and plays a position that isn’t as deep around the league. Teague will turn 28 in eight days, which doesn’t mesh with the Sixers’ timeline, the timeline of the No. 1 overall pick. Veterans can certainly help the team's core (and Teague would certainly be a helpful player in 2016-17), but they should only be acquired for the right price.
Basically, it seems like a win-now move for a team that shouldn’t be concerned with its record in 2016-17.
As the Sixers are reportedly leaning toward taking Ben Simmons with the No. 1 overall pick, the need for a traditional point guard also lessens in theory. A rim protector at center fits better on paper with a point forward like Simmons than a traditional point guard who had the ball in his hands in Atlanta. You would want the 6’10” rookie controlling the offense much as possible.
Charania reported a trade isn't imminent, so there is a chance the deal never materializes. But from here, a swap centered around Nerlens Noel and Jeff Teague would be a poor use of resources from the Sixers' perspective.
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