Nerlens Noel Dallas Mavericks

The Dallas Mavericks better prepare to whip out some serious cash if they hope to retain soon-to-be restricted free agent center, Nerlens Noel.

“A source from another NBA team (not the Mavs) tells me that there will be ‘multiple’ clubs willing to pay Noel his max once he hits the restricted-free-agent market on July 1,” writes Mike Fisher of Scout.com.

As Fisher details, the Mavericks can offer Noel a max contract worth “about $146.45 million over five years,” whereas other teams can offer the young big man ” about $108.575 million over four years.”

Dallas can match any offer Noel receives being that he’s a restricted free agent this summer. But will the Mavericks be interested in doling out that much cash to retain him?

That’s the big question that we’ll be awaiting the answer to with no small amount of interest.

Mark Cuban and Co. gave up a pretty penny this season to acquire Noel (details here), indicating they intend to hold onto him over the long haul. Cuban himself recently indicated Noel is one of the players he’s excited about as a core member of what the Mavericks are building for the future.

“I’m not allowed to talk about [negotiations] but all I can tell you is he’s one of a bunch of guys who came in, they all got together and said ‘Let’s go down to the practice facility and start working out together,'” Cuban said, per SportsDay. “So they’re down there now and so that’s exciting to see, and he’s part of that group.”

To this point in his career, Noel remains a bit of a project. His best campaign came last season with the Philadelphia 76ers, when he averaged 11.1 points, 8.1 rebounds, 1.5 steals and 1.8 blocks per game. This past season in Dallas, he averaged 8.5 points, 6.8 rebounds, 1.1 steals and one block per game.

Still just 23 years old, Noel clearly has plenty of talent to develop. Whether that talent warrants such a large financial commitment remains to be seen. But the Mavericks won’t keep him, it seems, unless they are willing to at least give him around $25 million per year.