On Thursday afternoon, just ahead of the NBA's trade deadline, the Dallas Mavericks pulled off one of the week's biggest trades, shipping center Andrew Bogut and wing Justin Anderson to the Philadelphia 76ers for center Nerlens Noel. The Mavs will also send their first round pick to the Sixers, as long as it isn't one of the first 18 in this summer's draft.
The team is in the awkward position of not being good enough the compete in the playoffs but not bad enough to lose enough games to fully tank their season for a high draft pick.
Here are five things you should know about Noel, and the deal, as the Mavs settle themselves before coming back from the All-Star break.
1. Noel immediately improves the Mavs on the court. — While Bogut is a capable interior defender — when he's healthy, which hasn't been all that often with Dallas — he is terrible on the perimeter, incapable of chasing mobile big men around the floor. Given that Dirk Nowitzki's age has only exacerbated his own defensive shortcomings, it was impossible for Rick Carlisle to put Bogut and Nowitzki on the floor together and expect productive minutes. Noel, on the other hand, is the perfect front-court complement to Nowitzki. He's a good rebounder and a rangy, elite-level defender, capable of chasing the NBA's most mobile big men all over the floor.
2. Noel needed out of Philadelphia. — Noel, the sixth pick in the 2013 draft, just no longer fit with the 76ers. Thanks to Joel Embiid's long-awaited return from a series of injuries this season, Philadelphia has no use, and no minutes, for another center, no matter how athletic or good a defender as he might be. Rather than letting Noel languish on the bench and potentially poison the locker room, the 76ers are moving on — much to the Mavericks benefit.
3. Noel can fly. — Seriously, just check out these videos.
Here he is dunking over Andre Drummond, one of the best defenders in the NBA.
And here are all 118 of his dunks from the 2014-2015 season:
4. Noel likes to party. — Here he is at Coachella last summer with Embiid and Drake's dad, Dennis Graham:
And here he is with Dallas' own Post Malone:
5. Noel might not be the best tenant — Like his soon to be fellow Dallasite, Dez Bryant, Noel was recently sued for allegedly trashing a house he was renting. In April, the owners of a home near Philadelphia that Noel paid $54,000 to rent for a year, sued Noel after he moved out, accusing him of causing more than $40,000 in damage. According to the owners, Noel ruined the house's carpet by splashing a "neon liquid," Gatorade, throughout the house and caused extreme water damage to the home. He clogged toilets, the suit said, by stuffing them with cotton balls and feces.
After the owners complained, a tombstone mysteriously showed up on the house's front steps, leading the owner's to say they felt threatened by Noel in the lawsuit. Noel, for his part, denied causing the damages and said that the tombstone was merely a leftover Halloween decoration.