Jordan Schultz: League sources say Phil Jackson wants to dump Joakim Noah’s contract as part of a #Porzingis trade. Unclear if it’s a deal-breaker. #Knicks
Given how Noah has played, it’s extremely unlikely anyone takes on his contract, even though Knicks sources say he’s been great to have around from a locker room and leadership point of view. The future of the Knicks franchise is Kristaps Porzingis, so there is no scenario in which he is moved. Courtney Lee could be a possible trade chip, but like Noah, he hasn’t exactly set the world on fire as a Knick, and he’s owed $36.75 million after this season.
The elephant in the room is whether Noah’s contract will haunt Jackson for all four years, considering he already is struggling to find a niche other than rebounding (8.9 per game). The amnesty clause no longer exists and isn’t expected in the new CBA. Noah is 31 and Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf said in September he’s no longer “a front-line center.’’ NBA TV’s Greg Anthony warned about overreacting to Noah’s sluggish start. “I wouldn’t go there,’’ Anthony told The Post. “When you have a unique understanding of the game like he does, he still has a lot of good years left. I’m not yet concerned about him.’’
The reality is that rival executives have maintained for some time that the Bulls preferred to deal Noah, in the name of making sure they got something for their longtime emotional spark in the final year of his contract, rather than parting with Gibson.
Marc Stein: Intriguing to see how Noah injury impacts Bulls before Feb. 18 trade deadline. Most rival execs say Jo is the big CHI most wanted to trade
Noah’s injury also closes whatever window there was on the Bulls’ desire to trade him. They were exploring what they could get for him as the February trade deadline approached.
KC Johnson: The screams that emanated from Noah after the injury were no joke. Ran right past reporters on press row. Moving past human element, which is real, this also could affect Bulls as they approach trade deadline. Noah was available.
Ric Bucher of Bleacher Report says the Bulls have already started testing those trade waters: "League sources say the Chicago Bulls have been checking on interest in one of their three bigs on the front line: Taj Gibson, Joakim Noah, and even at one point Pau Gasol. They are looking to get a young talent back, doesn’t matter whether it’s a defensive wing or a genuine stretch four. All of this is being motivated or prompted by the emergence of rookie big man Bobby Portis, who is demonstrating he is ready to take on a role now."
The likes of Gibson, Noah and Gasol might not even see the end of their current contracts, as several sources indicated that the Bulls are taking calls on all three players as the trade deadline draws near. Noah’s value has taken a hit this week with a small tear in his left shoulder, and the center told reporters on Wednesday that he is looking at a two-to-four week window now. Not the best news for a player that was starting to look like his old self.
Overheard on Adrian Wojnarowski's new podcast, The Vertical (~1hr mark): Executives around the league, and people have told me, that the Bulls are very determined to add a talented wing player. Tony Snell has been given a lot of opportunities and he hasn't established himself, and I've been told that the Bulls are open to... whether it's Joakim Noah, Taj Gibson... maybe not both of them, but either of them if there's a deal out there that they can bring in the best possible wing player available, they're open to it. That's a direction they're going to go in. They need more shooting... to shape this team towards more of an offensive-minded group.
As for Chicago, the Bulls are loaded with expendable frontcourt talent. Joakim Noah’s $13.4 million expiring contract and Taj Gibson are available, along with a young asset or draft pick. With former first-round pick Bobby Portis stuck behind a crowded frontcourt, Chicago is looking to clear a path for him to play more, one source said.
Bulls sources have been pretty adamant that trading Joakim Noah is not on their radar, but the writing is on the wall. Noah is posting some of his worst numbers of his career. He has been wildly inconsistent, especially defensively and it’s clear that’s he’s not an ideal fit with the Fred Hoiberg era Bulls.
May 13, 2021 | 6:30 am EDT Update
Whispers in Memphis are the Grizzlies aren’t yet sold on their 2018 lottery pick, 6-foot-11 power forward/center Jaren Jackson Jr. They’re concerned about his durability. In late April, Jackson, 21, made his return from an extended absence after he tore the meniscus in his left knee last August while playing in the NBA bubble. Jackson has started just two of the nine games he has played this season and he has taken periodic games off for “injury management.’’ Jackson is averaging 14.6 points in 23 minutes per game.
Sources also said Knicks general manager Scott Perry loved Jackson’s athleticism coming out of Michigan State as the draft’s youngest player when Memphis selected him fourth overall. Jackson, who threw down a vicious dunk and made two 3-pointers in front of Knicks senior vice president William Wesley during the Knicks’ 118-104 win in Memphis on May 3, will enter the final $9.1 million year of his four-year contract next season. If he doesn’t sign an extension this fall, his future bears watching. Could Jackson play a small-ball 5 role with Julius Randle?
Bobby Marks: With the New York Knicks clinching a playoff spot, Julius Randle has now earned a $945K bonus. Randle also received a $945K bonus for being selected to the All-Star game. The Randle cap hit for 2021-22 is now adjusted to $21.78M.
Mike Trudell: Kuz on any concern about LeBron: “No. He knows himself, he knows his body better than anyone. I don’t really care if he comes back and he plays, Indiana, Pelicans (and shoots 45 times to get a rhythm) … We’re not worried about no chemistry issues because of the way he plays.”