With 22 games left in their regular season campaign, the Golden State Warriors are looking primed to get back to the playoffs and defend their crown this year. If Golden State wins again, they would become the first back-to-back champions since the LeBron James-led Miami Heat won it in 2012 and 2013.
The Warriors are currently second in the West with a 46-14 record, only a half-game behind conference-leaders Houston Rockets, who most analysts believe is the only team at this point who could remove the champs from their invincible status.
Houston won their season series with Golden State, 2-1, which had led to speculations that the Warriors would try to further improve their roster going into the postseason to better match up with the Rockets. After staying put at the trade deadline, basketball pundits are expecting the Warriors to do their upgrading in the ongoing buyout market.
NBA squads have until March 1 to acquire bought out players in order for them to become eligible to suit up in the playoffs. At the moment, SB Nation’s Golden State of Mind reported that one of the names being mentioned in the Warriors’ rumor mill is New York Knicks center Joakim Noah.
There had been rumors ahead of the deadline that head coach Steve Kerr is looking to upgrade his squad’s center rotation, as reported by a previous Inquisitr article. It said that the Warriors want to add depth to their frontline as rookie Jordan Bell struggled with injuries while Kerr had chosen to give regular starter Zaza Pachulia limited playing time.
The Knicks’ Kyle O’Quinn was briefly mentioned at that time, but as Golden State of Mind had indicated, the Warriors have become interested in getting Noah instead.
Fortunately for the Warriors, the relationship between Noah and the Knicks’ coaching staff are reportedly dissolved after the former NBA Defensive Player of the Year had a shoving confrontation with head coach Jeff Hornacek in practice last month. With that, obtaining Noah would not be too difficult to pull off.
ESPN reporter Ian Begley recently tweeted that according to Hornacek, Noah and the club have “moved on” from the incident and the former is free to “have an opportunity somewhere else.” Reports are out that Noah has stopped joining the team in practices and games despite still being under contract with the club for the next two years, which means that a buyout is looming.
Golden State of Mind said that if a buyout is secured, then the Warriors would pursue him immediately as a free agent. However, the team is expected to have some competition as the Oklahoma City Thunder and Minnesota Timberwolves are also reportedly interested in signing the two-time NBA All-Star.