Restricted free agent center Nerlens Noel has joined the agent who represents LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Phoenix Suns’ Eric Bledsoe in his effort to sign a max contract. According to Michael Scotto of Basketball Insiders, Noel hired agent Rich Paul of Klutch Sports. Noel signed with Paul amid his contract stalemate with the Dallas Mavericks. This marked the third time that Noel has switched agents. He was with agent Andy Miller when he was drafted No. 6 overall in the 2013 NBA Draft before he moved to Happy Walters in December.

According to Nick Silva of ESPN, Noel wants a maximum deal but the Mavericks refuse to sign him to one.

As a restricted free agent, Noel has no leverage over the Mavericks, who can extend him a $4,187,599 qualifying offer. If he signs the qualifying offer, Noel can become an unrestricted free agent in 2018 where he can ink the larger deal that he wants. Other NBA squads don’t have the capacity to sign Noel to a huge offer sheet because their respective salary caps are already used at this point in the offseason.

Noel’s new agent known for his long holdouts

Chris Barnewell of CBS Sports said Paul is known for his lengthy holdouts, so Noel’s situation could drag on. The Philadelphia 76ers traded Noel to the Mavericks in February. In 22 games with the Mavericks, he averaged 8.5 points and 6.8 rebounds a night.

Last season, he played 29 games for the 76ers, tallying 8.9 points and 5.0 boards.

Mavs sign Jeff Withey to two-year deal

The Mavericks signed free-agent center Jeff Withey to a two-year, partially guaranteed contract. Initially, Shams Charania of The Vertical reported that the Mavericks signed Withey to a one-year deal with a veteran’s minimum salary.

However, Tim McMahon of ESPN clarified that it was a two-year contract. Withey, a second round pick by the Portland Trail Blazers, can provide the Mavericks with added depth in their front line. Withey began his career with the New Orleans Pelicans where he played for two years. He then moved on to the Utah Jazz and served as the backup to Rudy Gobert.

In 51 games with the Jazz last season, Withey averaged 2.9 points and 2.4 boards in 8.5 minutes of action per game. At 27, Withey is one of the oldest players in the Mavericks’ lineup, the youngest ever coached by Rick Carlisle during his tenure in Dallas. Aside from Dirk Nowitzki and Withey, the Mavericks boast a young lineup with Dorian Finney-Smith, Yogi Ferrell and Harrison Barnes.

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