Philadelphia 76ers fans can't stop talking about the process days -- but they have stopped talking about Oklahoma City Thunder center Nerlens Noel over the last couple of years. That all changed on Friday night, though, when a Sixers fan caught a cryptic post on Facebook made by Noel this week.
"Mooooood. Can't wait to be back!" Noel posted as a caption above a photo of him dunking a ball. Noel's post wouldn't have set any alarms off had he posted a picture of himself from last season playing in a Thunder uniform.
But instead, Noel's photo was from his days as a member of the Sixers. Quite the random selection from Noel, who hasn't played for the Sixers since the 2016-2017 season. The former sixth-overall pick got his start in Philly after he was drafted and traded away from the New Orleans Pelicans to the Sixers in 2013.
At the time, Noel was one of the few faces of the Sixers' process days, which contained a lot of losing and a lot of trading. It seemed Noel was going to be one of the very few players who were going to stick around when the 76ers finally start competing for victories, but the former Kentucky standout was traded by year three.
After a couple of seasons with the Dallas Mavericks, Noel signed on to join the Oklahoma City Thunder with a two-year deal. This offseason, the Thunder center will hit the free agency market once again. It's unclear if Noel will return to OKC or test the market, but his latest social media post leads Sixers fans to believe he will ultimately end up coming back to where his career all started.
There's reason to believe Noel's post could actually mean he's headed back to Philly. Last season, the Houston Rockets reportedly nearly traded for Noel. Daryl Morey, who ran the Rockets' front office last year, is now Philly's President of Basketball Operations.
Then again, there are signs of being skeptical. For starters, Noel could've simply made that post with the intention of saying he can't wait to be back on the court and not specifically in a Sixers uniform. Plus, with Al Horford on the roster, the last thing the 76ers need is another high-profile backup center.
While Philly is more than likely going to explore trading Horford this year, moving the aging center and his contract will be difficult. A Nerlens Noel return shouldn't be ruled out, but his cryptic Facebook post should be taken with a grain of salt.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him on Twitter: @JGrasso_