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NBA Free Agency 2017: Nerlens Noel signs $4.1 million, 1-year qualifying offer to return to Mavericks

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This is officially the Mavericks’ worst free agency nightmare.

NBA: Dallas Mavericks at Memphis Grizzlies Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

The Mavericks had one job this summer. And they appear to have blown it?

According to reports, after changing agents to Rich Paul just days ago, Nerlens Noel is indeed betting on himself: he has signed a $4.1 million qualifying offer to return to the Mavericks on a one-year deal, per Chris Haynes of ESPN.

Noel has reportedly been unhappy with contract negotiations at least since Summer League. Despite the fact that he was seen in Vegas chumming it up with Mavs players and brass, his then-agent put out a statement shortly thereafter that he was unhappy with Dallas’ offer. Rumors have had that offer anywhere between $12 million to $15 million to, most recently, $17.5 million. According to Haynes, however, that $17 million offer was never a real thing. But, according to Adrian Wojinarowski of ESPN, the actual offer on the table was 4 years, $70 million — indeed $17.5 million per year.

(UPDATE: per ESPN’s Tim MacMahon, that 4 year, $70 million offer from July 1 was pulled after Noel asked for the max. Exact timeline of that remains unclear, however.)

The Mavericks’ only free agency priority this summer was signing Noel to a long term deal. They traded for him this past season with the idea that he would be a centerpiece in a young core for years to come. Though Noel is oft-injured, most agreed a reasonable long-term deal was a good fit for both team and player. And now, both sides will have a year to decide if they want to continue the relationship.

Our long game of chicken will apparently now continue for the entire 2017-18 season.