Rumors and speculations are now swirling around the Houston Rockets who are reportedly having trade talks with the Phoenix Suns and the Philadelphia 76ers to acquire center Nerlens Noel.
In the recent offseason, James Harden and Dwight Howard parted ways after suffering a disappointing season. The dispute between the two superstars affected their performance last season, resulting in an early exit in the first round of the playoffs. However, the departure of Howard deeply hurts the Rockets as they didn’t manage to find a perfect replacement for the center.
In the ESPN Summer Forecast, the Houston Rockets are projected to finish 8th in the Western Conference with a 41-41 win-loss record. Despite the addition of Ryan Anderson and Eric Gordon, the Rockets lost their main piece in the defensive end. It was undeniable that Howard provided a strong interior presence on defense last season.
If the Rockets are serious about competing next season, they should consider improving their frontcourt by adding a quality rim protector. According to Bret Stuter of the Sixer Sense, the Rockets could engage in a trade deal with the Philadelphia 76ers and the Phoenix Suns to acquire center Nerlens Noel.
The Philadelphia 76ers currently have a logjam in their frontcourt, having three starting caliber centers namely Joel Embiid, Nerlens Noel, and Jahlil Okafor. The Sixers were frequently mentioned in various trade rumors involving Noel and Okafor. ESPN’s Bradford Doolittle believed that Houston Rockets could be the potential landing spot of Noel.
Sixers general manager Bryan Colangelo claimed that they are not going for a bad deal just to move either Nerlens Noel or Jahlil Okafor. There are speculations that the Sixers will be trading one of their big men to address their backcourt problem.
In a suggested trade scenario created by Andrew Lynch of Fox Sports, Rockets will acquire Nerlens Noel from Philadelphia, Sixers will be having Brandon Knight and Archie Goodwin from Phoenix, and Suns receive K.J. McDaniels, Clint Kapela, and first round pick from Houston, and a second round pick from Philadelphia.
Nerlens Noel will undeniably give a boost on the Rockets’ frontcourt, especially on the defensive end. Noel is a quality rim protector which makes him a perfect replacement for Dwight Howard. If this trade proceeds, the Rockets will surely have a higher chance to compete against the best teams in the league next season.
Photo courtesy: @nerlensnoel3/Instagram