Nerlens Noel was offered and declined a four-year, $70 million contract by Mark Cuban and the Dallas Mavericks on July 1, former agent Happy Walters confirmed to SB Nation. The terms of the deal was first reported by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
“Mark and Rick [Carlisle] and Donnie [Nelson] definitely tried to make something work,” Walters told SB Nation. “They liked Nerlens and they made a really solid offer early in the process.”
Walters also tweeted the terms of the deal in response to ESPN’s Chris Haynes, who described it as “non-existent” in his report.
Nerlens Noel signs 1-year, $4.1 million QO to return to Mavs, league sources tell ESPN. Reported $17M "offer " was non-existent in any form.— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) August 26, 2017
On Saturday, Noel signed a one-year, $4.1 million qualifying offer, a deal that will make him an unrestricted free agent in 2018. It comes four days after firing Walters and signing Rich Paul of Klutch Sports.
Paul declined comment since he was not part of the previous negotiations.
Noel never revisited the initial four-year deal that was declined in early July, according to Cuban, which the Mavericks may have still honored if Noel had a change of heart.
“[It’s] hard to say,” Cuban told SB Nation. “We never got there.”
By taking the qualifying offer, Noel is betting he’ll have a season that proves he is worth more than the contract he turned down. As a unrestricted free agent, Noel can field offers from all 30 teams, no longer tied down by the fact that the Mavericks said they would have matched any offer sheet he signed.
However, the salary cap may not rise next season, likely leading to a depressed free agency market that may prove difficult for any player to garner max offers.
Several Mavericks teammates believe Noel should have taken the original offer.
“They think he should of taken the [$17 million],” one source close to the team told me. “That's a good number for him. But if he's willing to risk it and bet on himself, you can't knock someone looking for their first big bag of money.”