Source: Kings add another center option in veteran Nerlens Noel

Noel joins Kings on one-year deal

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And then there were 14.

According to a league source, the Sacramento Kings have inked defensive specialist Nerlens Noel to a one-year, league minimum, $3.1 million contract. Adrian Wojnarowski was first with the information.

The 29-year-old center split last season between the Detroit Pistons and Brooklyn Nets, playing a total of 195 minutes over 17 games between the two stops.

Noel has played for six teams since being selected with the No. 6 overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft, with the Kings being his seventh. Over 467 games, including 223 starts, Noel has career averages of 7.1 points, 6.1 rebounds, 1.5 blocks and 1.3 steals.

This is the type of long, athletic defender the Kings have been looking for in the post, although Noel joins a crowded field at the center position that now includes All-NBA center Domantas Sabonis, as well as veterans Trey Lyles and Alex Len.

At 6-foot-11, 220 pounds, Noel sports a 7-foot-3.75 wingspan and a strong defensive-minded approach. He not only has elite shot blocking capabilities (2.4 per 36 minutes), but he also averages 2.1 steals per 36 minutes throughout his career.

Ripple effect

The addition of Noel puts the Kings’ roster at 14 players. There is no early word on whether his contract is fully guaranteed, but the center position is pretty locked in.

Noel will be in a scramble for minutes, but he has a unique skill set that the Kings are searching for, especially on the defensive end. Whether that translates to a rotational spot or not is still a major question.

This move creates a more complicated path for a return of young center Neemias Queta. The Portuguese-born big man spent the last two seasons on a two-way contract in Sacramento.

The team extended Queta a qualifying offer before the start of free agency and he played well in both the California Classic and Las Vegas Summer League before injuring his right foot last week.

With Sabonis slated to play major minutes, Lyles likely set as a small ball five and veterans like Len and Noel at least battling for a spot in training camp, it’s a crowded field. If Queta returns, he’s likely going to look at more time in Stockton at the G League level, where he dominated last season.

Sacramento still has a two-way roster spot open, as well as space on the main roster. NBA teams are allowed to carry up to 21 players, including standard contracts and two-ways, until the start of the regular season when they have to trim to a maximum of 15, plus up to three two-ways.

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