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Nerlens Noel 'Very Disappointed' With Where Negotiations Stand With Mavericks

The Mavericks have a plan, and by all appearances Nerlens Noel remains part of it.

But it's hard to get a grasp on that when negotiations with the young center for a new contract are essentially at a standstill.

The two sides remain far apart on a new deal and the representative for the fourth-year veteran said Tuesday that the situation could drag on deep into the summer.

Noel, 23, is a restricted free agent, meaning the Mavericks can match any offer he might get from another team.

However, agent Happy Walters said that the Mavericks have yet to come up with a realistic contract offer.

"We're very disappointed with where things stand," Walters said. "Nerlens loves Dallas and spent June there working out, but we're still waiting on a serious offer."

 

Mavericks' owner Mark Cuban said only that he cannot go into details about the negotiations.

What kind of money are we talking about? Two examples fit Noel's situation. Last October, Oklahoma City center Steven Adams signed a four-year, $100 million extension. On the same day, Minnesota center Gorgui Dieng signed a four-year, $64 million extension.

Somewhere between those two is probably where Noel should be since all of them have about the same track record and all are still very young.

One of the sticking points -- other than money -- is exactly how the contract would be structured. The Mavericks are trying to save every penny they can for next summer, when free agency could be a lot less competitive with only a few teams possessing enough money to make a run at one or perhaps two marquee free agents.

That's making it difficult to find a middle ground for Noel. At this point, there are four options for Noel, and two of them are clearly not to his liking. First, he could accept whatever offer the Mavericks are willing to tender and demand an opt-out after next season. Second, he could sign the qualifying offer of about $6 million that is on the table. That would make him a free agent again next summer. He has until Oct. 16 to sign the qualifying offer.

Neither of those alternatives provides any long-term security.

The third option is to find another team with appropriate salary cap space that could sign Noel to an offer sheet. But it would have to be a combination of a team that has space and also is in the market for a young building block at center.

Phoenix (even with Tyson Chandler), Sacramento, Atlanta and Chicago are some of the few teams that might fit that mold.

A fourth option would be to play overseas, but it's highly unlikely Noel could get anything close to the money he is seeking.

Until the Mavericks either supply a different offer or Noel's agent finds another team that wants him, the standoff will continue.

The Mavericks have 13 players with guaranteed contracts and Noel would represent the next-to-last roster spot available.

They are weighing their options with regard to Chinese swingman Ding Yanyuhang and big man Brandon Ashley, both of whom played well at the summer league in Las Vegas.

Noel played well in his 22 games with the Mavericks last season after joining them in a trade from Philadelphia. He averaged 8.5 points and 6.8 rebounds in 22 minutes per game. He played sparingly down the stretch because the Mavericks were more interested in seeing other young players develop and to ensure they did not rise any further in the standings.

For now, the Mavericks will sit tight. And so will Noel since neither side appears to be in a hurry to move this situation further down the field.

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