Warriors: 3 free agent centers to target in the offseason

Warriors (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
Warriors (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) /
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2. Nerlens Noel

Nerlens Noel quickly saw his career go from sixth overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft to well-traveled center. Though, that is the way the NBA has changed as the center position is no longer the dominant force it used to be.

The 25-year-old was originally drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers but he has made stops in Dallas and Oklahoma City since then.

Now, the six-year veteran is set to test free-agent waters yet again. It should be noted that free agency has not been kind to the University of Kentucky product.

After the 2016-2017 season and a brief stay with the Mavericks, Noel became a restricted free agent with lofty salary expectations.

According to Chris Haynes of ESPN, the 6-foot-10 center sought a four-year contract for at least $17 million in average annual value. This asking price was never met, and Noel had to settle for a $4.1 million, one-year contract.

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Noel has spent the past two seasons with the Thunder and could be looking for a new home yet again.

For the bulk of his Thunder career, Noel has come off the bench. In the 2019-2020 season, the veteran center appeared in 55 games but only made six starts.

In those 55 games, Noel has recorded 7.7 PPG, 4.9 RPP, and 1.5 BPG while shooting 69 percent from the field. Based on the blocks per game, he brings a rim-protector quality that the Warriors could use.

If his $1.7 million salary for this past season is any indicator, Noel’s projected earnings next season fit in line with the Warriors budget. Given this, adding Noel is one of the likelier scenarios.

Of course, there are reasons why a talented, young player like Noel has yet to score the lucrative contract he seeks. While playing for rebuilding teams, his effort level has often been in question. However, that has been less of a criticism as he has played for a playoff-bound team since joining the Thunder.

If the Warriors want a strong defender at the post, then Noel should be one of the names they target this summer.