If you are a connoisseur of NBA offseason workout Instagram videos, you’ve probably seen Joakim Noah pop up in some pickup games with other top NBA talent. Noah, who appeared in only seven games last season before being sent into exile by the Knicks, is scheduled to make $37.8 million over the next two years, making him one of the most immovable players in the league.
Noah had his issues with Jeff Hornacek, but it seems as though David Fizdale isn’t too keen on opening the door back up for Noah. ESPN’s Ian Begley and Adrian Wojnarowski posted a story on Wednesday stating that despite some early optimism for Fizdale bringing Noah back into the fold, there has been “no traction” in any talks to do so.
That leaves the Knicks with a few options. One is to keep Noah and allow him to eat up a massive amount of cap space and a roster spot for the next two years, while not even really being a part of the team. Another is to trade him, but with the Hawks having already taken on Carmelo Anthony’s contract in a salary dump this summer, it seems the window for finding a team willing to make such a move has closed — if it were ever open given Noah’s contract is even worse being that it has one more year after this.
That leaves New York with one final option, which is to waive Noah and try to lessen his cap hit by using the stretch provision to break that $37.8 million remaining up over a number of years. That is apparently the plan once September 1 rolls around, per Begley and Wojnarowski.
Assuming general manager Scott Perry continues to be unable to find a trade that includes Noah, the Knicks will use the NBA’s waive-and-stretch provision to release Noah sometime after September 1, league sources said.
For the Knicks, the worst deal of Phil Jackson’s tenure (which is a lofty bar) will haunt their cap space for many years, with the stretch provision easing some of the immediate pain but also causing it to linger through 2021. Beyond that, what makes this interesting is that Noah still clearly plans on playing basketball somewhere. While there are no teams willing to trade for him due to his contract, if he can prove he’s still got some juice left in the tank, there could be a market for him on a minimum deal.
If you were to put odds on which team would be most likely to bring Noah in for camp if his buyout is done by then, the Minnesota Timberwolves, led by Tom Thibodeau, would have to be the heavy favorites to bring in the former Bull to Chicago West.