In a rather surprising move, the Sixers traded Nerlens Noel to the Dallas Mavericks just before Thursday's trade deadline and the deal seems to have caught even rookie center Joel Embiid off guard.
Embiid had made his friendship and on-court affinity with Noel no secret and took to social media immediately after the trade to wish Noel well and react to the latest trade pulled off by Sixers president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo:
Gonna miss my best friend but I'm happy for him... He represented the process since he was here from the start.. One more time>>> Trust It-- Joel Embiid (@JoelEmbiid) February 23, 2017
TRUST THE PROCESS !!!!-- Joel Embiid (@JoelEmbiid) February 23, 2017
NBA Trade Deadline: Winners, Losers
In return for Noel, the Sixers netted a 2018 first-round pick that his top-18 protected, center Andrew Bogut and Gorabet Justin Anderson.
The Sixers' pair of trades leading up to the trade deadline should clear the way for rookie Dario Saric to make his way into the starting lineup. Meanwhile, it now seems likely that Embiid will be on the floor most often alongside Jahlil Okafor who was not traded prior to Thursday's 3 p.m. deadline.
Noel was set to be a restricted free agent this summer and Thursday's trade signals that either Colangelo and the Sixers had little desire to bring him back or that the team could not persuade the former first-round draft choice to re-sign and accept a reduced role behind Embiid and No. 1 overall pick Ben Simmons in the future.
Joel Embiid saying goodbye to Nerlens Noel [?] [?] [?]
(via @tmoore76ers) pic.twitter.com/D7qS7LNY1T
Matt Lombardo may be reached at MDLombardo@yahoo.com. Follow him on Twitter @MattLombardo975.
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