Oh, the power of social media. Professional athletes and social media go together like peanut butter and jelly, just a bit more exciting and mysterious.
Following the Mavericks loss to the Thunder on Sunday, Nerlens Noel took to his Instagram after only playing the final two minutes of the game and collecting a DNP-CD in Saturday’s game against the Cavaliers.
Noel posted a photo of himself and a clearly cropped out Rick Carlisle with the following bible verse as the caption, “I keep my eyes always on the LORD. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.. Psalm 16:8.”
Now what does this mean? It could easily just be Nerlens posting one of his favorite verses to keep himself motivated with his head held high, right? Well, sure but there always seems to be an alternative motive when professional athletes post cryptic messages on social media.
The Nerlens saga began during free agency when Dallas and Noel were at stand still all summer long. Noel and his camp wanted a max deal but Dallas was not willing to budge. As Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders reported in August, Noel turned down a Mavericks offer of $17.5 million per year. While Noel hired a new agent mid-offseason, no progress was made and his qualifying offer of $4.1 million was signed.
It’s clear that Nerlens is frustrated with his role on the Mavericks. As of late, Rick Carlisle has been playing Salah Mejri more minutes as his production has helped the Mavs immensely. As Rick stated when asked about Noel’s minutes following the loss to Cleveland on Saturday, “Minutes have to be earned” and Mejri has done just that.
As distraught as Nerlens must feel, he seemed surprisingly upbeat when speaking with Isaac Harris of Fansided following Saturday nights DNP-CD against Cleveland. “No not really. Just been focused on coming in and doing what I got to do. Focusing on the season. Playing hard when I’m in the game. Just keeping everything simplified.”
Whatever comes of this season, know that this storyline will continue if Noel doesn’t make it out of the dreaded Carlisle dog house. As a 23-year old with great potential in a contract year, Noel has a lot to gain but even more to lose yet he seems to remain positive as times get tough.
“Things are going to come. Things are going to play out. Just focusing on getting better and better and supporting my guys.”
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