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NBA notes: Sixers introduce top pick Nerlens Noel

Nerlens Noel won’t be wearing his uniform for real until he recovers from knee surgery.

matt rourke/associated press

Nerlens Noel won’t be wearing his uniform for real until he recovers from knee surgery.

Nerlens Noel was finally introduced to the media on Tuesday afternoon. He may not be introduced to the 76ers’ fans on the court until 2014.

Noel was acquired by Philadelphia in a draft-night trade with the New Orleans Pelicans last month. Philadelphia acquired the rights to Noel, the sixth overall pick, and a first-round pick, which is top-five protected, for All-Star point guard Jrue Holiday and a second-round choice.

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Noel, the 6-foot-11-inch Everett High product who played one year at the University of Kentucky, was projected by many as the No. 1 overall selection, but tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in February. He played only 24 games for the Wildcats, but was named the SEC Defensive Player of the Year after averaging 10.5 points, 9.5 rebounds, 4.4 blocks, and 2.1 steals in 32 minutes per game.

Noel is uncertain of his return and is scheduled to visit a doctor Wednesday at the University of Pennsylvania.

‘‘I'm doing six hours of rehab a day,’’ Noel said, ‘‘[and] I'm making a lot of progress.’’

After the Andrew Bynum experiment failed miserably — he never played one second in a Sixers uniform last season because of bilateral bruises on both knees after a grand welcoming to the city following a trade — the Sixers weren’t fazed from trading for another promising young player with a major knee injury.

General manager Sam Hinkie said repeatedly that he wouldn’t rush Noel’s recovery.

‘‘Rim protectors are at a real premium in this league,’’ Hinkie said. ‘‘We feel like we have one here. We have future plans, too, and we'll do our due diligence in every way with respect to Nerlens. When we get the nod that he’s cleared, then we'll do it. We’re in no hurry.’’

The 19-year-old Noel is the key piece of a rebuilding process with the Sixers, who stumbled to a 34-48 record in 2012-13, just one season removed from losing to the Celtics in a seven-game Eastern Conference semifinal series.

Bynum recently signed with the Cavaliers while guard Nick Young went to the Lakers and swingman Dorell Wright left for Portland. Philadelphia consultant Rod Thorn left for the NBA league office, general manager Tony DiLeo was fired, and coach Doug Collins resigned.

In fact, the Sixers are the lone team without a coach.

‘‘We've talked to a number of people,’’ Hinkie said. ‘‘When we feel like we have the right coach, we'll do it.’’

Warriors add on O’Neal

The Warriors signed 6-11 center Jermaine O'Neal, a six-time All-Star, to a $2 million, one-year contract. Golden State is likely to use the 34-year-old O'Neal, who is entering his 18th season, as a backup to Andrew Bogut. Festus Ezeli is working back from right knee surgery and is not expected to be ready to return for months.

O'Neal played in 49 games in two injury-plague seasons with the Celtics before playing 55 games last season in Phoenix, where he averaged 8.3 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 1.4 blocks in 18.7 minutes.

Mavericks lock up Ellis

The Mavericks officially signed shooting guard Monta Ellis, finishing the final piece of their new starting lineup. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed, but it is reportedly a three-year contract for between $25 million and $30 million.

Ellis will start alongside point guard Jose Calderon. The third new starter is center Samuel Dalembert. It’s the second straight year the Mavericks have put three new starters around Dirk Nowitzki and Shawn Marion.

The 27-year-old Ellis will start the season with a different team for the third straight year after spending his first six seasons with Golden State. The Warriors traded Ellis to Milwaukee in 2011-12, and he led the Bucks last season at 19.2 points per game.

Judge to Nashes: #be civil

An Arizona appellate court says Lakers guard Steve Nash may have to pay additional child support for his three children and that he and his ex-wife can’t say bad things about each other through social media. A Court of Appeals panel’s ruling says a judge must consider ordering Nash to pay more than the children’s ‘‘basic needs.’’ The court also upheld a judge’s order barring the couple from disparaging each other through social media. It said Alejandra Amarilla Nash used her Twitter account to make a ‘‘biting criticism’’ of Nash after their divorce was granted. The couple divorced in 2011. They have a son and two daughters . . . The Bulls waived forward Malcolm Thomas, who appeared in seven games for them last season and averaged 2.5 points.

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