Rumors have circulated about a Nerlens Noel for Jeff Teague trade. Sixers fans seem to be against the trade. Here's why it's not so terrible.
The Philadelphia 76ers have a bumper crop of options this off-season and there's no clear consensus with what they'll do. They've been stockpiling draft picks and front-court players for the past few years and it will theoretically be paying off in the next month. One of the big recent murmurs is that the Sixers are considering trading Nerlens Noel for Jeff Teague, with a possibility of someone like Covington or Stauskas being thrown in to help match salaries.
Source: Keith Allison derivative work: Chrishmt0423 via Wikimedia Commons
According to the Sixers subreddit, this is not a good idea. Everyone seems pretty hell-bent against making this trade, but I'm not sure I agree. Here's my case for making the move.
1) Both players are on the last year of their contract. The trade would be an expiring deal for an expiring deal, meaning it can act as a trial run for the future. The Sixers have an unbelievable amount of cap space and are in the process of improving the team. A one year trial on an All-Star point guard in exchange for one year of a guy whose minutes will stay low seems easy enough.
2) The front-court logjam. While many people think Okafor is the odd man out and will be traded, those same people are claiming that Embiid will be back and healthy. However, if Embiid is back and healthy, won't he be taking minutes from Noel? I don't think Embiid will be as good as everyone is hoping - even if he stays healthy - but popular opinion does seem to say that he's the best center on the team. If that's all true, and if Saric is coming over, then there are several talented big-men, even if they're not centers. If the Sixers are committing to Saric and Simmons as prominent players (obviously they haven't done this yet) then Noel can be expendable. These players - including Okafor - can spread the floor at least a little better than Noel, and there aren't that many true centers in the conference that Philly will have to deal with.
3) Teague should increase the value of the players around him. Jeff Teague is an All-Star point guard. He's not one of the five best in the league, but he's awfully good in a league that's being driven by guards. Teague is a major upgrade over Ish Smith and has proven that he can get the ball to players around him. Teague has been a good player on a team of good players - meaning that he's familiar with teams that don't have a true superstar. Philadelphia does not have a true superstar. They have a lot of guys with potential, and a veteran point guard can help bring that out. Teague would do wonders for getting the ball into the hands of Okafor/Simmons/Saric/whoever in good situations. He's been doing it for a few years with Horford, Millsap, Korver, etc. If he does do this, and the Sixers find themselves willing to make another trade in-season or after next year, Teague would likely have elevated trade value of players around him. A good point guard makes everyone else look good, and Jeff Teague is a good point guard.
4) This team is bad. Jeff Teague is not. This is simple. I don't think Nerlens Noel is bad - I actually like Nerlens Noel quite a bit - but he won't be getting used to his full potential with so many guys 6'10 or taller on his team. Jeff Teague is good at basketball. He's not going to win the MVP, but he's good. The Sixers are currently not good. He will be more useful than Nerlens Noel. That's it.
This potential trade was reported several days ago, so it's clear that nothing is imminent. Even so, why not go for it? The Sixers are in a position where they still have nothing to lose: #1 pick, lots of promising young players, and a ton of cap space. Pull some strings and take some swings.