NBA Trade Rumour: Raptors have approached the Sixers about a deal for Nerlens Noel

John Geliebter-USA TODAY Sports

Oh yes, it's that time of year again. The NBA free agency period begins in just over 24 hours and that means the trade season is about to heat up. Are the Raptors in the mix? Well, according to the big dog, Zach Lowe of ESPN, Toronto has apparently already approached the Philadelphia 76ers about a deal for Nerlens Noel. Breathe deep, it's our first major NBA trade rumour of the off-season.

Here's what Lowe says about it:

The Raptors will need to move at least one big deal to have any hope of retaining both DeMar DeRozan and Biyombo, and teams will call about DeMarre Carroll. Toronto has already approached Philly about a deal sending out a rotation player -- perhaps Terrence Ross, and other goodies -- in exchange for Nerlens Noel, who could then assume Biyombo's backup center role, according to league sources. The talks haven't gained much traction yet.

Props to Lowe here. He's one of the few basketball writers on the planet who can write this paragraph, sound 100 percent legit, and just casually send the city of Toronto, land that I love, into a major frenzy. Let's break this down.

The obvious place to start: are the Raptors serious about trying to re-sign both DeRozan and Biyombo? This seemed like a crazy pipe dream just yesterday, but now Lowe is saying, hey, one big deal and it's party time. Not sure it's that easy and despite Lowe's leisurely way with the terms here, count me amongst the skeptical that the Raps will actually retain Biyombo.

Second little tidbit: teams are still interested in Carroll? This actually comes as something of a relief, to be honest. Carroll injured himself in just about every way possible last season, so it's nice to see he still has value.

Ah yes, but now the main event: apparently Raptors GM Masai Ujiri is talking to his old friend Bryan Colangelo -- imagine that phone call -- of the Sixers with a deal proposal to pry away Nerlens Noel. The 21 year old centre is just two seasons into the league, on a contract with two rookie deal years left on it; he averaged 11.1 points, 8.1 rebounds and 1.5 blocks while shooting 52 percent from the field last season.

Noel has clear value as defensive player, and could be the guy to replace Biyombo for the Raps. (And those of you questioning Noel's worth, remember: it wasn't so long ago many NBA fans were laughing at Bismack, the hapless colossus.) Theoretically, Noel could grow into a great backup centre option, particularly when you consider him paired with Patrick Patterson. That part makes this proposal intriguing.

As Lowe rightly points out though, any deal would presumably include Terrence Ross, the team's best and most real trade asset. This would mean the trade still doesn't quite address the strange logjam the Raps have at backup centre, and it still doesn't give Jonas Valanciunas a true, viable starting power forward to play with. (It does clear the way for the Year of Norm, though.)

Also, what it would mean for the Raptors newest draft picks -- Jakob Poeltl, backup centre, and Pascal Siakam, springy backup PF -- remains to be seen. Though, maybe one of them would also have to be included in said deal?

In any case, Lowe ends with "the talks haven't gained much traction yet," so we'll have to temper our emotions here.


As a Sixers fan I must say I think the return mentioned in that Lowe piece is very light.

How about:

Toronto: Noel
Phoenix: Carroll and T Ross
Sixers: Brandon Knight

The Sixers wouldn’t have use for Carroll when we have Covington.

Unless we're signing a new 3 and D wing in FA, I don't see us moving Carroll.

He signed here with the intention to stay long-term and I can’t see MU moving on from him so soon.

It would probably have to be something like Ross, Delon Wright and Nogueira. Philly, understandably, would want more.


I get that Carroll wasn’t able to show much last year with his injuries, but he’s still a great fit. Hoping to have him healthy next year will be like a big free agent addition to the new team on it’s own.

Another Sixers fan

Ross is useless. Also, Knight isn’t a very good option either. Toronto just probably called to see the price but they got nowhere.

Ya I don't see us being good trade partners.

In TO, Noel would be a backup C, so I can’t see us parting away with even the package I mentioned above.

i dont even see this deal making any sense for the raps

if the whole purpose is to allow the raps to resign yet another backup bigman… there’s gotta be something else to it right? or is poeltl going to play SF too?

can he play PF?

Maybe. All evidence so far says no.

Noel is a game-changer on D

You guys would love him up there.

One thing, though – Noel has great taste in music. He values authenticity, which means he has Meek > Drake. Is that a deal buster?

lol don’t lie. you’re jammin to drake right now

raps only sending out carroll and terrence ross for noel? maybe masai should throw in lowry too just make things fair and balanced.

poor sixer fans, i dont envy them waiting for BC to work his magic.

Every trade Masai has done

Zach Lowe did not leak it. Just saying.

On the plus side, often when we hear a rumour about the Raps, another deal completely unrelated is about to happen. Masai may have been honest, told Lowe and yet known all along he was going with plan B. He’s crafty that way. Love it.


True… unless… the leak is on the Philly-side? That would make sense.

Possibly trying to stir up interest in Noels.

why, not?

they wouldn’t be the first, yeah?

"Terrence Ross, the team's best and most real trade asset. "

ross is nowhere near the team’s best trade asset. after seeing what guys like george hill and thad young netted, masai would have to pull another fast one to get much for ross, sorry.

though i’ll agree he might be the ‘most real’ trade asset, as in the one the raptors most want to flip.


Yes, maybe "best" is a bridge too far. "Real" is accurate though.

you raise a valid point

if thad young gets a 20th pick, not sure how much you get for ross.

that being said things can change quick. once a few teams lose out on free agency, ross may start to look reasonably good.

certainly 10 million is chump change these days. we are gonna see some BAD contracts get handed out.

Masai doesn't leak

I strongly feel this leak is not coming on Toronto’s end. Colangelo loves playing the media.

I also think this trade would set something else up. I don’t see Noel happy to be a backup and I don’t see Masai wanting to match an obscene offer sheet next summer (note: Noel has 1 year left on rookie deal – not 2. He sat out year 1 with injury).

I feel best thing Raptors fans could do is hope Horford leaves Atlanta. Apparently Hawks had interest (or Colangelo leaked) in Noel before Teague deal. I could see Masai collecting the required assets to land Milsap.


Using Toronto as leverage to gain more for NerNoe?

That would be great if the Raptors could get Noel for some package deal involving Ross. But if the goal is to eventually resign Biyombo, why would Noel be replacing him in the back up role? Noel would be starting with JV and have PP and BB continue as the back ups, no?

Also, don’t think the Raptors would be looking to trade Carroll. As a team in win-now mode, he’s a guy worth keeping unless a deal too good to pass up comes along.

I imagine it is one or the other. Either trade Ross and clear cap space for Biyombo, or trade him for Noel and use the cap space elsewhere.


… for Nerlens which creates cap space for Biyombo.

Then sign and trade Biyombo with created cap space.

Then also trade Noel.

Just a hypothesis. Biyombo is great at <$10M but at what the market might dictate, try to get value from trade.

If there are two things we have learned about Masai:
1) the only thing you hear is something he wants you to hear,
2) he is going to maximize every piece at his disposal.

Hard to get value in a sign and trade this summer when everyone has cap room.

As for leaks, in terms of the Raptors’ goals and plans, yes. In terms of potential trades, it only takes one to tango, in terms of leaks.

PS – Any chance you have posted on RR forums in the past? If so, welcome back!

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