Restricted free agent center Nerlens Noel returned to the Dallas Mavericks by way of signing the one-year, $4.1 million qualifying offer on Saturday, according to Chris Haynes of ESPN.
Nerlens Noel signs 1-year, $4.1 million QO to return to Mavs, league sources tell ESPN. Reported $17M "offer " was non-existent in any form.
— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) August 26, 2017
Noel had held out hoping for a maximum contract, but an offer never materialized. Instead, the 23-year old ended up being a victim of a dried up free agent market, which came because this year’s salary cap was lower than projected.
Noel was traded to Dallas for Justin Anderson, Andrew Bogut and two second-round picks last February. Though he’s one of the better defensive centers in the league, Noel has yet to develop much on the offensive end. He averaged just 8.7 points per game last season, shooting 59.5 percent from the floor and 69.4 percent from the line. He also can’t stretch the floor whatsoever, a fairly big issue in today’s three-point heavy game.
However, given his age and defensive ability, Noel thought he could get a max contract this summer. Given the spending spree that occurred a year ago, it’s hard to blame him for thinking so. There just isn’t much demand for defense-only centers, which accentuated this summer. This is essentially the last domino to fall in NBA free agency, with most players having signed contracts in July.