Report: Noel hires Paul in search of new deal

Mavericks center Nerlens Noel continues to search for a new contract.

Dallas Mavericks free agent center Nerlens Noel has hired Cleveland-based agent Rich Paul of Klutch Sports Agency, according to a report from Basketball Insiders.

Noel is reportedly seeking a maximum contract. He was previously represented by Happy Walters, hired by Noel just a few months ago.

Noel is a restricted free agent, meaning the Mavericks can match any offer from another team. So far, those offers have not come.

Paul has become one of the league’s highest-profile agents with a client list that includes Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James, Philadelphia 76ers forward Ben Simmons, and Phoenix Suns guard Eric Bledsoe.

Paul also negotiated large contracts for Cavs center Tristan Thompson and shooting guard J.R. Smith in the summers of 2015 and ’16, respectively.

Noel, 23, is 6-foot-11 and was the No. 6 overall pick in the 2013 draft. He played 22 games with the Mavericks last season, following a February trade with the Philadelphia 76ers.

He spent his first two-and-half seasons with the Sixers, compiling career averages of 10.0 points, 7.5 rebounds and 1.5 blocks.

Mavs star Dirk Nowitzki has spoken in favor of the team keeping Noel, telling The Undefeated, “He’s so young and so athletic. I’d love to keep him. I’m sure that is what the Mavs are thinking. … We obviously traded for him last year with the hope he will stay with this franchise for a long time.”

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