Nerlens Noel

Why Kings oddly paid $300K to Noel, who didn't play this season

NBC Universal, Inc.

Every dollar counts. 

The Kings paid a player who never suited up for them $300,000 for the 2023-24 NBA season.

Nerlens Noel, who last appeared in the NBA as a reserve big for the Brooklyn Nets on March 12, 2023, was the recipient of the cash.

Sacramento signed Noel to an offseason deal on July 18 and kept him around as a depth piece until the fall. He ultimately was released on Sep. 12 alongside fan favorite Neemias Queta to make room for three-time NBA champion JaVale McGee, who finished the season with the team. 

Noel was due $300,000 after being cut, per Spotrac (h/t Sports Illustrated’s Ben Stinar). With the Kings’ season over -- after a loss to the New Orleans Pelicans in the NBA Play-In Tournament -- Noel officially finished the season with a hefty sum of cash and zero minutes under his belt -- with the Kings or as an NBA free agent.

Noel, an above-average defender, simply hasn’t panned out as a professional. The big man, who was selected No. 6 overall in the 2013 NBA Draft before finishing third in Rookie of the Year voting, evolved from a double-double machine as a big-time freshman at Kentucky to a journeyman searching for a spot on an NBA roster. 

Noel has played in nine NBA seasons for six different teams -- in order, the Philadelphia 76ers, Dallas Mavericks, Oklahoma City Thunder, New York Knicks, Detroit Pistons and Brooklyn Nets.

Across 467 games, he has averaged 7.1 points, 6.1 rebounds, 1.5 blocks, 1.3 steals and 1.1 assists.

Noel, 30, presumably has much left to give the game of basketball. Ideally, he can make a return to the NBA and close out his career on his terms.

For now, though, he possibly can find solace in making money without breaking a sweat for Sacramento.

Contact Us