Recent NBA trade rumors have emerged saying that veteran center Joakim Noah could be traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves soon as the New York Knicks create more salary cap room.
Noah, who is just back for the Knicks after serving a 20-game suspension for violating the NBA's substance abuse policy, had been in a lot of trade speculations since last summer. The Knicks are rumored to be "trying to trade" Noah "for the last several months," but they were unable to find a suitable partner to pull off a deal, according to Blasting News.
Noah is only in the second year of his mammoth four-year, $72 million deal with the Knicks. The report noted that the Knicks are planning to waive Noah by utilizing his contract's stretch provision. Doing so would allow the squad to make more cap room "over the next five years."
Knicks GM Scott Perry is reportedly still keen on trading Noah, though, as the executive wants to recover some assets from the two-time All-Star big man should he end up exiting the squad.
New York currently has a surplus of centers with starter Enes Kanter and substitutes Kyle O'Quinn and Willy Hernangomez. Noah is head coach Jeff Hornacek's fourth-stringer in the middle, as the former Florida Gator played for the first time this season against the Portland Trail Blazers on Monday.
Noah was actually not expected to get any playing time. However, with Kanter recently having back issues, Hornacek fielded him in for three minutes during the Knicks 103-91 home loss. He was able to produce two points, one rebound, and one shot block.
Noah was ecstatic about playing on the basketball court again, the New York Post reported.
"Oh my god, it's been so long. Just to be on the court is special. Playing in the Garden is something I'll never take for granted."
With that, latest trade rumors have mentioned the Minnesota Timberwolves as a potential landing spot for Noah before February's deadline.
Wolves head coach Tom Thibodeau is Noah's former coach during his glory days in Chicago. Should Noah get traded, he would be the third ex-Bulls player after fellow All-Star Jimmy Butler and veteran banger Taj Gibson to reunite with Thibodeau in Minnesota.
Blasting News said that Noah would fit in Thibodeau's system for sure, plus he can also solve one of the Wolves' biggest problems this season: interior defense.
While Noah is evidently not the player that he used to be, the former NBA Defensive Player of the Year awardee is still considered a vocal locker room leader. The report said that he can still become a mentor for Minnesota's young frontcourt of Karl-Anthony Towns and Gorgui Dieng.
However, the report also noted that a trade would be a long shot because of Noah's expensive contract. It said that the most plausible way for Noah to join the Wolves is via free-agency next summer, after an expected Knicks buyout.
[Featured Image by Tony Gutierrez/AP Images]