Chicago Bulls: 3 biggest free agent misses from the offseason

Nerlens Noel, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Nerlens Noel, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /
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Nerlens Noel Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Nerlens Noel Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

2) Chicago Bulls free agency misses

Scouting Report. Power Forward/Center. Age: 26. Nerlens Noel. 2. player. Pick Analysis. 27

It does really feel like the Knicks made a habit out of signing experienced big men that are usually role players to short term contracts over the course of the last two offseasons. Last offseason alone, the Knicks signed former Bulls bigs like Taj Gibson and Bobby Portis to deals that could get them out after just one year.

This offseason, the Knicks made a similar move to stock up experienced depth in their frontcourt rotation, this time by signing the former Thunder 6-foot-10 and 220 pound 26-year-old power forward/center Nerlens Noel. The former sixth overall pick out of the Maryland Terrapins basketball program in the first round of the 2013 NBA Draft of the New Orleans Hornets (now the Pelicans) actually saw his game trend up in the last few years.

Noel found some stability between his stints with the Thunder (under Donovan’s direction) and with head coach Rick Carlisle and the Dallas Mavericks in the last four seasons. During the shortened 2019-20 regular season, Noel played in 61 games with the Thunder (seven of which he started in).

And he averaged 7.4 points per game, 4.9 rebounds, 0.9 assists, 1.0 steals, and 1.5 blocks. Noel shot 68.4 percent from the field, 33.3 percent from beyond the arc, and 75.5 percent from the free-throw line. That all amounted to a career-best 3.1 box plus/minus rating, 1.5 value over replacement player rating, .209 win shares per 48 minutes, 20.4 player efficiency rating, and 71.1 true shooting percentage.

It’s clear to see the value that Noel brings to the table. And the Knicks got him for an absolute steal in this cycle of free agency. They signed him to a one-year contract worth $5 million back on Nov. 25. That is the same contract that the Bulls handed Temple.