2018 NBA Free Agency: Sam Presti’s red hot streak continues with Nerlens Noel addition

Nerlens Noel OKC Thunder Player Preview (Photo by Randy Belice/NBAE via Getty Images)
Nerlens Noel OKC Thunder Player Preview (Photo by Randy Belice/NBAE via Getty Images) /

OKC Thunder GM Sam Presti is burning up NBA Free Agency. The most recent  addition is Nerlens Noel agreeing to a two-year, $1.7 million deal.

Sam Presti continues to dominate the NBA free agency period by landing center Nerlens Noel to a one-year deal with a player option for a second year. The news comes following rumors of Noel narrowing his options to four teams on Sunday.

Noel reportedly turned down a 4-year, $70 million offer from Dallas. Other teams in the running included the Washington Wizards, New Orleans Pelicans and Los Angeles Lakers,

An economical deal:

Signing Noel comes as a surprise to OKC fans, as reacquiring Paul George and Jerami Grant was expensive. The Thunder was already at $116 million in payroll prior to signing George to a 4-year max deal and Grant to 3-years at $27 million.

So with the Thunder being unable to match Dallas’ offer, it didn’t appear Noel would be in the cards. But as NBA free agency tends to do, it surprises us. Noel accepted OKC’s $1.7 million deal which will cost the organization another $10 million in luxury tax.

RelatedNerlens Noel agent hints OKC is on center’s short list

Low price for athlete yet to come close to his potential:

The oft-injured center from Kentucky has failed to play a full season. In fact, Noel has played less than half a season the past three years, competing in just

30 games with the Mavs in his previous campaign.

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In those outings, Noel produced 4.4 points with 5.6 rebounds in 15.7 minutes of playing time.

When healthy, Noel’s defense and rebounding will help OKC’s struggling second unit. Head coach Billy Donovan can now plug Noel in for Steven Adams in lieu of Darkari Johnson and the undersized Patrick Patterson.

And, still at the young age of 24, Noel has not come close to reaching his potential.

OKC’s lack of bench scoring continues to go unaddressed, but having Grant and Noel on the floor together should translate to easy offense.

RelatedProblem child Nerlens Noel offers assets OKC need

There’s still plenty of time to add or move pieces around. Plus, at this stage it seems unwise to bet against Sam Presti delivering the pieces required.