Report: Re-signing Nerlens Noel is Mavericks’ top priority

By Vincent Frank

The Dallas Mavericks will have money to spend in free agency. That number will increase should Dirk Nowitzki decide to opt out of his contract and re-sign for less.

Though, it’s becoming readily apparent that the Mavericks’ top priority is to build and cultivate a young core surrounding big-money free agent signing Harrison Barnes.

According to ESPN’s Marc Stein, re-signing young big man Nerlens Noel is the team’s top off-season priority.

Noel, 23, was acquired from the Philadelphia 76ers during the 2016-17 regular season. The former top-10 pick responded by averaging 8.5 points and 6.8 rebounds in 22 games for the Mavericks. He figures to be the team’s starting center moving forward.

The issue here is that there’s been rumors that Noel might receive a max deal on the open market. Up to this point in his career, he has not performed up to that level.

After signing Barnes to a four-year, $94.4 million contract last summer, is Dallas really prepared to throw another huge contract in the direction of an unproven player?