The New Orleans Pelicans selected Kentucky center Nerlens Noel with the No. 6 pick in the NBA draft on Thursday, and then traded his rights to the Philadelphia 76ers according to various reports.
In return for Noel, the Pelicans get Jrue Holiday, who averaged 17.7 points and 8.0 assists. Philadelphia will get the Pelicans’ No. 1 pick in the 2014 draft and their No. 42 pick in Thursday’s draft. The Pelicans’ No. 1 pick is protected from the trade if the team gets a pick in the top three positions.
Noel, a 6-foot-10 center, is recovering from a torn anterior cruciate knee ligament injury and won’t play right away. He averaged 10.5 points and 9.5 rebounds before the injury.
The proposed trade has yet to be confirmed by the NBA or the Hornets.
“Jrue is shocked,” Holiday’s agent Tony Dutt told Yahoo!Sports. “He understands it is a business as well. He is OK. It is what it is, something we didn’t expect.”
The Pelicans’ Jason Smith gave Holiday high praise.
“He’s remained aggressive, continues to work hard,” Smith said. “He’s a great player on and off the court; love to give back to the community. He’s what you want in a professional.”
The draft began when the Cleveland Cavaliers made UNLV forward Anthony Bennett the first pick in the draft, despite numerous draft experts predicting the team would take Noel. Bennett averaged 16.1 points and 8.1 rebounds for the Running Rebels last year.
Indiana guard Victor Oladipo was chosen by the Orlando Magic at No. 2. Oladipo averaged 13. 6 points and 6.3 rebounds last year.
Georgetown forward Otto Porter Jr. was chosen by the Washington Wizards. Porter averaged 16.2 points and 7.5 rebounds last season.