Dallas Mavericks president Donnie Nelson spoke on Friday morning following the team’s trade on Thursday with the Philadelphia 76ers for center Nerlens Noel.
In return, the Sixers received forward Justin Anderson, Andrew Bogut and a conditional 2017 first-round draft pick.
The Mavericks also waived veteran guard Deron Williams Thursday evening.
Nelson said that the Mavericks hope to make a push for the playoffs and with an eye toward the future.
“The hope and expectation is for him to energize our team and hope to make a run, but it was absolutely a move for the future,” Nelson said of Noel.
The 6-foot-6 Anderson was essential to the package – Nelson said the Sixers really liked him. He averaged 5.1 points in 106 games with Dallas over his first two seasons after being drafted 21st overall by the Mavericks in 2015.
“Justin was very difficult. It was a reluctant piece we had to put into this deal. He has a bright future and I wish him nothing but the very best,” Nelson said. “They liked Justin a lot. He was a critical piece and it was hard for us to get rid of that piece.”
Noel will be given every opportunity in Dallas, and the franchise is getting something its had just once, maybe twice before – an athletic big man.
“Noel gives us an element here we haven’t seen since Tyson Chandler. He brings shot blocking, rebounds, energy, big steals guy as well,” Nelson said. “He can get out on the court and guard the pick and roll, which is a big asset these days so it’s a dimension that we haven’t had here in a long time and we’re more than ecstatic and excited about him coming in.”
The 6-foot-11 Noel is in third season. He played in 171 games with Philadelphia, where he averaged 10.2 points, 7.6 rebounds, 1.7 steals and 1.6 blocks per contest.
“Next to Dirk, you need athleticism and shot blocking and I think that was the frustration with Andrew, it wasn’t the perfect fit,” Nelson said. “With the success of Tyson in the past, Noel is really a Tyson starter kit so I think it’s going to work really well.”
The trade also meant parting ways with two veterans in Williams and Bogut, both 32 years-old. But Nelson said the communication between all three parties was "open and honest."
“With Deron and Andrew, it’s clear we hope to make a play for the playoffs, but our expectations were higher to begin the season,” Nelson said. “It was in the best interest of the team with the eye of doing the right thing to those relationships.”
Williams, who graduated from The Colony High School in 2002, has been in the league for 13 years with the past two in Dallas. He averaged 13.7 points and 6.2 assists in 105 games.
Bogut was traded to Dallas from Golden State in the off-season along with forward Harrison Barnes. Fighting with injuries, the 12-year center managed just 3.0 points and 8.3 rebounds in 26 games.
“It was time to turn the page and go younger, which is in the best interest of the franchise,” Nelson said. “And when you can get a 6-foot-11, shot blocking, rebounding player like Nerlens, you have to pull the trigger.”
Loyalty to Dirk
It’s been well documented over the years the loyalty the franchise has toward Nowitzki and vise versa.
In his 19 years – all with Dallas – Nowitzki has taken multiple pay cuts.
“Can’t put into words what Dirk has meant to the city and the franchise,” Nelson said. “We really would love him to play five more years, but that’s his decision and it’s a year-by-year decision. We want to surround him with a group that can win.”
Nowitzki has averaged 21.8 points in 1,370 career games, and is the sixth-leading scorer in NBA history with 29,907 points.
“He’s the one guy that brought a championship here to Dallas even after everyone was doubting the defense and whether or not a foreign guy can win you a championship,” Nelson said. “The franchise and city and I personally, are forever indebted beyond words.”