In the 2016 NBA offseason, the New York Knicks signed Joakim Noah with the hope that he could help Carmelo Anthony bring the team back to title contention. Unfortunately, the former Defensive Player of the Year didn’t live up to expectations and failed to remain healthy in his first season as a Knick. Last season, Noah found himself out of Knicks Head Coach Jeff Hornacek’s rotation, heating the speculations that he could soon leave New York.
When the Knicks fired Jeff Hornacek and replaced him with David Fizdale, there was a growing optimism that the team could give Joakim Noah a chance to prove himself in the league. However, the Knicks’ feelings for Noah didn’t change. According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, the Knicks will trade or waive the 33-year-old veteran center before the training camp starts on September 22.
“The Knicks and center Joakim Noah are expected to part ways before training camp; team has continued to work trade calls, although waiving and stretching Noah’s contract looms as a route.”
Finding a trade partner for Joakim Noah is the best scenario for the Knicks. Unfortunately, it remains a big question mark if there will be a team who will be interested in absorbing Noah and remaining two years and $37.7 million on his contract. Like what the Los Angeles Lakers did to dump Luol Deng and his lucrative deal, the Knicks are expected to use the stretch provision on Noah.
It’s easy to understand why the Knicks already want to part ways with Joakim Noah despite expressing his interest to play for Coach David Fizdale. With the presence of Enes Kanter, Kristaps Porzingis, and Mitch Robinson, Noah is not expected to receive playing time in the upcoming 2018-19 NBA season. Getting rid of Noah’s contract is also one of the Knicks’ top priorities, especially with their goal to clear enough salary cap space for a maximum free agent for the summer of 2019.
The 2019 NBA free agency will be loaded with several NBA superstars like Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, Jimmy Butler, Klay Thompson, DeMarcus Cousins, Kemba Walker, and DeAndre Jordan. Pairing one of those NBA superstars with Kristaps Porzingis will increase the Knicks’ chance of fully dominating the Eastern Conference.
When the Minnesota Timberwolves signed Luol Deng in the buyout market, there are speculations that the team could sign Joakim Noah next once he leaves the Knicks. Signing with the Timberwolves will enable Noah to reunite with Coach Tom Thibodeau and former Chicago Bulls teammates Jimmy Butler, Taj Gibson, Derrick Rose, and Deng. However, Marc Stein of the New York Times reported that the Timberwolves currently have no plans to pursue Noah.