NBA Rumor: Joakim Noah Buyout?

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The Knicks will have to officially execute exiled Joakim Noah’s waiver/stretch provision by Monday (the date to set the 15-man roster) to end the stalemate. Sources indicate Noah isn’t willing to give up much money — if any. That may be because he doesn’t have a definite landing spot. The Timberwolves, a possible location for him, could be on hold because of the Jimmy Butler fiasco.

Joakim Noah remains on the Knicks roster, but not for long. Unless a trade opportunity suddenly emerges for the center, the Knicks will waive Noah before the regular-season roster needs to be set on Oct. 15, sources told the Daily News. The Knicks have been shopping Noah but are declining to attach valuable assets to shed the two years and $38 million remaining on his contract. By waiting until the roster deadline, the Knicks are hoping against odds that an injury or something else creates a stronger trade market.

There has been no effort to bring Noah to training camp, which starts Monday. Mills said 17 players worked out Wednesday — a strong number that “excites” him. But Noah wasn’t there and last posted a picture of himself on a California beach with John McEnroe and Josh Brolin. “Nothing has changed other than we’re in constant communication with his representation,” Perry said Thursday at a pre-training camp press conference at the Garden Theatre. “Training camp is a few days off. The hope is we can come to a resolution that is both advantageous to Joakim and the Knicks. That’s where it is.”

It sounded as if the Knicks are asking Noah to give back some money to compensate for the salaries he could earn elsewhere from the next two seasons of his contract. Perry was asked why the team won’t attempt to see what Noah has left when training camp opens. “Training camp hasn’t started for us. It is what it is,” said Perry, who was not part of the Knicks’ front office when they signed Noah to a four-year, $72 million deal at the start of free agency in 2016. “We’re comfortable dealing with his representation and we’ll let you know once that [ends].”

Sources indicate the likeliest scenario still is Noah becoming a stretch-provision waiver at the Sept. 1 landmark date — as first reported by The Post. Waiting until Sept. 1 would enable the Knicks to maximize their salary-cap savings while not having Noah’s $72 million deal strangle their cap for too many years. Of course, things can change. There’s hope among Knicks brass the team can find a trading partner for Noah, who played seven games this past season.

Hornacek was asked about Joakim Noah’s status with the Knicks and how the matter will resolve itself: “I’m not sure,” he said. “In the summer, Scott [Perry, the general manager] and Steve [Mills, the team president] will be talking with him. I guess that’s how it will get resolved.” Noah has been away from the Knicks since getting into a heated exchange with Hornacek in January and won’t be back this season. If the Knicks can’t trade him, they’ll likely stretch his contract and waive him on Sept. 1 to minimize how much they have to pay him in 2019, when they hope to be spenders in free agency.

Noah is unwilling to give up enough of his $72 million contract in a buyout to make it worthwhile for the Knicks to let him free. The Knicks feel there will be better options with Noah down the road — trading him this summer to get his money off the books entirely or, more likely, waiving him via the stretch provision when the magical date of Sept. 1 occurs. On Sept. 1, the calculation changes for the better and would save the Knicks at least $12 million more in cap space in the summer of 2019, when brass is targeting a free-agent splash.

Here’s how the mathematics work. On Sept. 1, Noah will be deemed to have one remaining year on his pact after the current season. Hence, on that date, if waived under the stretch provision, the $19.2 million left would be stretched over three years — counting against the cap in the summers of 2019, 2020 and 2021. That amounts to about $6.5 million each year. As for the Knicks’ 2019 cap savings, instead of having $19.2 million count on the cap, the number would be $6.5 million. In exchange, the Knicks would have Noah count against the cap for an additional two summers.

Joakim Noah has until midnight Thursday or else he’s stuck with the Knicks. That’s the deadline for the exiled center to reach a buyout if he wants to sign elsewhere and be eligible for the playoffs. However, as late as Wednesday afternoon, there had been no progress in negotiations. The Knicks still didn’t want to release Noah without significant money coming back in a buyout, and Noah was unwilling to surrender enough of his guaranteed contract. Beyond the remaining money owed for this season, Noah still has two years and almost $38 million remaining on his deal. It’s unclear how much the Knicks are asking to retrieve in a buyout.

Golden State has monitored Noah’s situation. One league personnel director said Noah makes sense for the Warriors, who have a habit of “collecting role-playing big men who defend and rebound.’’ Al Horford, his former Florida mate, said he’d love to have Noah on the Celtics and thinks he’ll be a good addition to a playoff team.
3 years ago via ESPN

After Kornet’s stirring debut, it seems even less likely the Knicks will want exiled Joakim Noah back after brass failed to trade his long-term contract. The Knicks attempted to add Noah to an Elfrid Payton package. Knicks general manager Scott Perry said Noah still is not welcome, and a buyout would seem inevitable. “There’s no new update — same place,” Perry said. “We weren’t able to get a trade done. He’s not coming back right now. He’ll be away until further notice.”

All were virtually unanimous in the assessment that a deal for Joakim Noah is unlikely. “Offer him a buyout. You’ve got to pay him, so see if you can pay him less,” one exec said. “There’s not a team in the league that’s going to take on that contract [more than two years left on a four-year, $72M deal] with his health issues and where he is in his career. To take on his contract, you’d have to give the No. 1 pick every other year for three years.”
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