New York Knicks center Joakim Noah hasn’t played a single game since returning from a 20-game drug suspension. Coach Jeff Hornacek doesn’t see any immediate change in Noah’s status, and the latest NBA rumors suggest that the Knicks may consider waiving the big man via stretch provision.
Joakim Noah was one of the pieces Phil Jackson acquired to build the Knicks’ “Super Team” last season. To secure the former Defensive Player of the Year, the Knicks gave him a four-year, $72 million contract. Unfortunately, the Knicks underperformed and were unable to earn a playoff spot in the not-so-competitive Eastern Conference.
In 46 games, Noah has been a huge disappointment on both ends of the floor, only averaging 5.0 points and 8.8 rebounds on 49 percent shooting from the field. As of now, he’s considered as the odd man out in New York. The Knicks currently have a logjam at center, resulting in Noah to be on the inactive list despite returning from a 20-game suspension.
So far, coach Jeff Hornacek’s trust belongs to Knicks’ newly acquired center Enes Kanter, who’s currently averaging 14.0 points and 10.5 rebounds on 64.7 percent shooting from the field. Kanter offers the same skill set as Noah and proves to be a better frontcourt partner with Kristaps Porzingis.
With the Knicks having Kyle O’Quinn and Willy Hernangomez as backup centers, it makes sense for them to get rid of Joakim Noah. Unfortunately, his expensive contract and deteriorating performance make it hard for the Knicks to find a trade partner. According to Marc Berman of the New York Post, the Knicks could end up using the stretch provision in waiving Noah. However, Berman made it clear that the Knicks are in no rush to use their last option.
“Using the stretch provision now or using it after the season would have the same consequences and cap savings. So the Knicks will bide their time and see if Noah drinks from the fountain of youth. If the Knicks used the stretch provision anytime between now and Sept. 1, before the start of next year’s training camp, his remaining two years of $37.8 million would be stretched across five years. If they stretch him now or after the season, it would give the Knicks $11 million of extra cap room for next summer and $12 million of extra cap room for the following summer.”
As of now, coach Jeff Hornacek has not planned on bringing Joakim Noah back on their rotation. The Knicks are currently establishing an incredible performance with Kanter and Porzingis as their frontcourt starters. Hornacek must be worried that Noah may destroy their chemistry. However, to know if he’s really an odd fit on their roster, the Knicks must take the risk or they will end up paying him a huge money just to sit on the bench.
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