SIXER BIG BOSS: NOEL HAS TO GET FIT, THEN WE’LL SEE IF HE FITS!

By Michael Bennett

Sixers big boss Bryan Colangelo spoke to the media yesterday for 49 minutes.

And basically said nothing that cleared up the Nerlens Noel dumpster fire.

The 76ers’ president said that embattled center Noel being out of the rotation “is not a benching. It’s a realization we have a lot of talent on this team.”

Colangelo (above) would like for Noel to shut the hell up, and also to work to show he’s “healthy and he’s professional and he’s got a good attitude toward everything that’s going on. That may ultimately lead to something (a trade).

“He does a lot of things at an elite level defensively when healthy and engaged,” Colangelo said. “We’re trying to determine if (Noel) is a fit for this roster.”

Noel is a fourth-year man who went No. 6 overall in the 2013 NBA Draft and might have gone No. 1 if he hadn’t torn his left ACL at Kentucky.

But Colangelo insisted he’s not going to clear up the logjam of centers by making a deal unless he gets fair value in return and is willing to go the entire season with Joel Embiid, Jahlil Okafor, Noel and second-year pro Richaun Holmes on the roster.

Colangelo noted all of the big men are Sixers “based on some decision-making that was done prior to me being here,” but later credited predecessor Sam Hinkie with acquiring young talent and upcoming draft picks.

Before Sunday’s 108-107 victory over the Nets, Brown seemed to announce he’d only be counting upon two big men (Embiid and Okafor) in his regular rotation because “trying to force-feed three bigs in a game is unfair.” Embiid and Okafor started the last three games.

But Colangelo said Monday that he “was probably saving you guys from a little bit of a tongue lashing” from Brown if the coach had talked to the media.

“He’s frustrated that (the perception is) it’s cut and dried (that) Nerlens is not going to play,” Colangelo said. “That’s not the case.”

Noel didn’t play in the second half of Friday’s home loss to the Lakers, prompting him to say, “I’m too good to be playing eight minutes. That’s crazy. We need to figure this (stuff) out.”

Noel, who has played a total of 18 minutes in two contests this season, essentially absolved Brown of blame Friday, saying “I think there’s too much on the coach’s plate. (But) the guys that run the operations, they do what they do.”

At Saturday’s practice, Brown told reporters, “If you went to our owners, if you went to Bryan, if you went to our team, me, we appreciate it’s a challenging situation.”

Noel saying in late September that he wouldn’t mind being traded and there were too many big men “was ill-advised, not only for his own value but probably for our ability to have him involved in a deal,” according to Colangelo.

“That’s never worked, in my estimation, for a player to voice that kind of concern,” Colangelo said. “Then people start looking at and questioning other things.”

Colangelo said Noel being away from the Sixers in the offseason and again while rehabbing after his Oct. 25 elective left knee surgery weren’t ideal from the organization’s standpoint.

Colangelo pointed that Noel will become a restricted free agent next summer and isn’t getting a chance to put up numbers worthy of a high salary could add to his frustration level.

 

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