Raptors reportedly considering Nerlens Noel trade with Knicks

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 11: Nerlens Noel #3 of the New York Knicks in action against Kyle Lowry #7 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 11: Nerlens Noel #3 of the New York Knicks in action against Kyle Lowry #7 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) /

When Toronto Raptors executive Masai Ujiri wants to acquire a particular player, he will continue pursuing him for years if it means he can finally snatch the baller in question up. That philosophy must be the reason behind the Raptors once again being linked to New York Knicks big man Nerlens Noel.

While some might view the Raptors as totally set at the center position following the selection of Christian Koloko in the NBA Draft, the idea of getting one more rim-protector for a team that was deficient in that area might make sense in Ujiri’s head.

The Knicks are not trying very hard to hide their interest in Mavericks star Jalen Brunson, though they lack the requisite financial flexibility needed to bring him in. Toronto might be able to pick up a rotation member while simultaneously giving the Knicks more room.

SNY’s Ian Begley reported that the Raptors and Nets are among the teams who are interested in acquiring Noel. While it may seem counterintuitive to help the rival Knicks clear room to afford Brunson, Masai Ujiri can rationalize it by saying he’s adding a top-shelf defender to the fold.
UPDATE: Nerlens Noel has been traded to the Pistons along with Alec Burks.

Will the Toronto Raptors trade for Nerlens Noel?

Noel averaged just 5.1 points and 6.4 rebounds per game with the playoff-bound Knicks in 2020-21, but he was the only player in the league to average two blocks and one steal per game. Noel earned a three-year contract as a result of that season, but he saw his production drop to just 3.4 points and 1.2 blocks per game.

The Knicks may need to attach a pick to get rid of Noel, as they are clearly in a selling mode to clear cap space. If they want to take back an asset in exchange, the Raptors could use this as a chance to swap out Khem Birch and add Noel. A trade remains unlikely, but not impossible from a logistical standpoint.

Mike Scotto of HoopsHype is reporting that the Knicks have also entertained flipping Noel to the Clippers. While he isn’t such a hot commodity that every team in the league will be putting him in their sights, the Raptors need to know that they won’t be bidding against themselves in this sweepstakes.

Trading for Noel will likely depend on how far along Toronto believes Koloko is in his development. If they think he needs more time with Raptors 905 in the G League before he is ready for primetime in the NBA, then moving some assets around to acquire Noel may be in the cards.

3 buy-low trade targets. dark. Next