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Official: Nets sign Nerlens Noel to 10-day deal

NBA: New York Knicks at Brooklyn Nets Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The Nets have a back up center. On Monday morning, the Nets officially signed Nerlens Noel, the 6’11” veteran center, to a 10-day contract, the team announced. He presumably be available Tuesday vs. the Rockets.

He will wear No. 0. The Nets posted a video of Noel Monday with commentary by the Massachusetts native who talked about what he planned when he arrives “down there.”

The announcement comes two days after Adrian Wojnarowski tweeted news of an agreement between the team and player.

Later, ESPN updated their reporting on the signing, adding Noel is signing a 10-day contract. Under league rules, teams can sign players to two consecutive 10-day contracts before having to make a decision on keeping him. He will be paid $151,821 for each 10-day stint. The Nets have 19 games over the next eight weeks but have no more than one day off between games.

Noel, 28, is known for his defense. Over the course of his career, he’s averaged 2.4 blocks per 36 minutes. He was waived and bought out on March 1 and will fill in as Nic Claxton’s back-up, a role previously played by Day’Ron Sharpe or Ben Simmons when healthy. The Post reports:

After signing a three-year, $31 million deal with the Knicks in 2021, Noel played in just 25 games in 2021-22, hampered by a string of maladies, including plantar fasciitis.

Knee and hamstring issues also plagued Noel, who also had a lengthy bout with COVID.

Noel is now seen as healthy. The Nets have had an open roster spot after trading Kessler Edwards to the Kings shortly before the trade deadline. In the trades that sent Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving to Phoenix and Dallas, the Nets added T.J. Warren and Markieff Morris to the mix to even things out and keep an open roster spot.

Nets fans and NBA pundits had long wondered if the team would add a back-up big. In recent weeks, Jacque Vaughn had noted that Claxton was playing many more minutes than ever before. In Brooklyn’s win over Boston Friday night, the 6’7” Dorian Finney-Smith played the small ball 5, blocking two shots in the second quarter that helped turn the game around.

Noel has played previously for Philadelphia, Dallas and Oklahoma City. He had a $9.2 million salary this season with a club option for $9.7 million next season, the final years of a four-year, $31 million deal. No details on how much the Pistons paid Noels in the buyout.

The Kentucky product had his best season with the Knicks two years ago before going down in early February 2021, playing in 54 games and averaging 5.1 points, 6.4 rebounds, 1.1 steals and 2.2 blocks in 64 games, 41 of them starts. He finished second in blocks that year behind Rudy Gobert. He had averaged 2.3 points and 2.6 rebounds in 14 games (3 starts) for Detroit before the buyout and has career averages of 7.2 points and 6.1 rebounds.

The signing is yet another indication the Nets are not tanking but intend to push for a playoff spot.