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Report: 'Multiple clubs' willing to pay Nerlens Noel max contract in free agency

By Brandon Apter, Sports Talk Philly editor

When the Philadelphia 76ers traded Nerlens Noel to the Dallas Mavericks this past season, it was clear that they were not willing to pay him what he was going to demand come free agency, whether it was matching a deal from another team or a qualifying offer. Now with the Mavericks, Noel is approaching restricted free agency and will likely get offers from numerous teams. 

According to DallasBasketball.com, Noel could demand a salary that ranges from $13-15 million per year and that multiple teams will offer him a max deal once the free agency period begins.

A source from another NBA team (not the Mavs) tells me that there will be "multiple'' clubs willing to pay Noel his max once he hits the restricted-free-agent market on July 1. And just so there is no confusion as to what that "max'' is:

Assuming the cap at $101 million, as the NBA is expecting, Noel's contract can start at 25 percent of the cap with eight-percent annual raises. That equals $25.25 mil as his starting salary and about $146.45 million over five years.

Competing bidders can offer restricted free agent Noel a four-year max deal, also worth 25 percent of the cap and also starting at $25.25 mil, but with just five-percent annual raises, equalling about $108.575 million over four years. Dallas can match any offer and retain.

So, if my league source is correct, Noel is about to get a $108.575 payday if Dallas balks at paying him ... because somebody else will do so.

Noel, 23, is a gifted defender with great rim protection skills and excels in a pick-and-roll offense. Although his shooting touch had gotten better and he provided the team with energy off the bench, Philadelphia decided to move on get some value for Nerlens rather than keep him on the roster and not match a maximum deal offered in free agency.

In 51 games this season between the Sixers and Mavericks, Noel averaged 8.7 points on 59.5 percent shooting to go along with 5.8 rebounds and 1.0 blocks per game. 

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