Sixers ‘Recently Called’ About Trade for Former Joel Embiid Teammate: Report

Joel Embiid

Getty Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers

If the Philadelphia 76ers are serious about getting another backup center behind Joel Embiid, they may look to reunite with a familiar face. According to James Edwards III of The Athletic, the Sixers are one of the several teams to ask about the availability of former lottery pick Nerlens Noel.

“Per league sources, the Heat, Nuggets, Mavericks, Kings, 76ers, and Celtics have recently called the Pistons and inquired about Noel,” Edward said.

Noel was on the Sixers from 2013 to 2017 and has since had stints with the Mavericks, Oklahoma City Thunder, New York Knicks, and Pistons. Noel was traded to the Pistons during the 2022 offseason but has had a pretty minimal role with them this season.

In only 13 games this season, Noel has averaged 2.5 points, 2.8 rebounds, 1.0 steals, and 0.7 blocks a game in 11.4 minutes a game.

The Pistons are 14-40 and are 11 games out of the No. 10 seed in the Eastern Conference standings. With rising star Cade Cunningham out for the season, the Pistons don’t have much motivation to keep a veteran like Noel around for the long haul. If Noel does not get traded at the trade deadline., he could potentially get bought out, seeing how the last year of his deal has a team option.

Noel Listed as Possible Trade Option

While listing multiple centers who could trade targets for the Sixers, Ky Carlin of SixersWire explained why Noel could be an option.

“There isn’t much reason for Noel to still be in Detroit at the moment. The Pistons are focused on young big men Jalen Duren and Isaiah Stewart, so Noel is available in a deal. The Sixers badly need somebody who can block shots, catch lobs off the pick-and-roll and produce on both ends of the floor. That is what Noel brings to the table,” Noel said.

Anothert benefit of acquiring Noel is that he would also have familiarity with the Sixers, which other options in Carlin’s article, like Serge Ibaka, don’t have. The question would be how the Sixers would make a trade. Noel is slated to make $9.2 million this season, so the Sixers would have to exchange a fair amount of salary to reunite with Noel. Furkan Korkmax (making 5 million this season) and Matisse Thybulle (making $4.3 million this season) could work.

Noel’s Thoughts on Time With Sixers

Before the Sixers took on the Pistons on January 10, Noel spoke fondly of his time both with the Sixers and with Joel Embiid.

“I’ve got a lot of memories here, a lot of relationships — Joel especially, having him come in and helping him learn a couple of things when he was a rookie,” Noel said per Noah Levick of NBC Sports Philadelphia. “Being a year or two ahead of him, I took a lot of pride in that, helping him build the foundation that he has today.”

Noel continued to speak glowingly of everyone in Philly, including former President of Basketball Operations Sam Hinkie.

“I had my own path, had my own journey, and everything here that’s coming to success, I genuinely am happy for everybody here,” he said. “I’m proud of Sam Hinkie, what he was able to start. He doesn’t get enough credit for it. I’m proud of everybody doing well here.”