Storyline: Joakim Noah Free Agency

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Chandler Parsons: I was always cool with Blake Griffin. He was in the league before me. Even this past summer, I hired his entire strength team and we trained together accordingly. Joakim Noah was one of the guys I trained with every day in the summer. That’s pretty much our group and then we’ll go to different workouts, different pickups like UCLA or pickups at West L.A. College and have our team already. Do you know how Noah is doing these days? I know that he had some serious injury that kept him sidelined for a bit. Chandler Parsons: He’s good. You can tell he’s been working out. He’s the type of guy that works so hard that he’ll be back. During the deadline and during the buyout season, somebody will pick him up. He’ll be a key part for, hopefully, a contender.

Howard-to-Lakers unlikely

Windhorst thinks the Lakers are doing their proper due diligence, but says Howard coming back to the Purple and Gold is probably not going to happen. “I don’t think it’s a very likely marriage,” Windhorst said on ESPN’s SportsCenter. “I think the Lakers right now are doing their due diligence on players, on available centers. Joakim Noah’s another guy they’ve looked at. “Dwight Howard has been on four different teams in the last four years. The Lakers are in need of somebody who can be healthy and give them minutes and that doesn’t fit who Dwight Howard or Joakim Noah are at this point of their careers.


One of the bigger NBA names who’s still unsigned is former defensive player of the year and two-time All-Star Joakim Noah. While Noah is weighing his options, he has been training in Los Angeles and talking with Terrell Owens, who relayed his experience of playing with the Buffalo Bills and Cincinnati Bengals at the end of his Hall of Fame career. “I told him about the end of my career when I was with Dallas and looking to sign with another team and Buffalo came to the table,” Owens said. “That’s not the most desirable place to play football, but I didn’t allow that environment or what people said about it to deter me from going there. [Noah] might have a chance to go to Detroit, which isn’t a desirable destination, but I said be a bright spot in a not so great environment. It doesn’t matter. Just rededicate yourself and be the best basketball player you can be.”

Memphis Grizzlies General Manager Chris Wallace today announced that the team signed center Joakim Noah for the remainder of the season. Noah will wear #55 for the Grizzlies. Noah (6-11, 230) was named the 2013-14 NBA Defensive Player of the Year, was selected to the 2013-14 All-NBA First Team and finished fourth in the Most Valuable Player voting after setting career highs with averages of 12.6 points, 11.3 rebounds, 5.4 assists and 1.24 steals for the Bulls that season. His career highlights also include two consecutive NBA All-Star appearances (2013, 2014), three NBA All-Defensive honors (Second Team in 2011, First Team in 2013 and 2014) and the 2015 J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award.

Marc Gasol has applauded the Memphis Grizzlies’ signing of Joakim Noah. In an interview with Basket-Infos, the center spoke glowingly about the French big man and underlined how well he’ll adjust to the style and culture of Memphis. Gasol: “Noah will give us experience, physical play, capability as a passer and creator, and another voice in the locker room. He’s the type of player that will adapt perfectly to our team. He plays with a lot of intensity, with a lot of passion and he places a lot of emphasis on defense. I liked [the signing] a lot. He knows how to make players around him better.”

Joakim Noah will arrive to to provide relief to Marc Gasol in the center position, and to give another veteran voice to help with Jaren Jackson Jr.’s development. But the Spanish center believes he and Noah can share minutes together. And he used a very interesting and close-to-home example: “We can play together. He already did it with Pau Gasol in Chicago and I know Pau liked sharing the floor with him. I can play like a 4 or a 5. I would like to share the floor with him at times when we want to play with a supersized five.”

Those who know Noah, his friends and workout partners, say he has chosen public silence out of principle. He’d rather work alone and try to redeem himself when he can rather than speak now or over the last nine months. While the Knicks have offered small updates on his status before their separation this weekend, Noah has only been visible through Instagram posts and the spare TMZ appearance. Noah’s absence from the team had been called a mutual one, though the team has not elaborated why an incident with its former coach would disqualify bringing him back. When asked last month why the franchise had chosen to let Noah go rather than try to bring him back and make it work, general manager Scott Perry danced around the question, saying only that they were “comfortable” with the process the Knicks and Noah’s representatives had embarked on since he left.

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.

Noah called Bulls Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf, President Michael Reinsdorf, executive vice president John Paxson, general manager Gar Forman and other organizational members when his nine-season run with the Bulls ended. But it’s also clear the Knicks leaped to the forefront of his free-agency choices as soon as the Bulls traded close friend Derrick Rose to the Knicks on June 22. “When the Derrick trade went down, it was for a center, for Robin (Lopez),” Noah said. “So I knew that there was going to be a (Knicks) need for a center. I remember my agent telling me this team was going to be an option and this team was going to be an option. And I couldn’t even think about anything but playing for New York. My mind was already set on where I wanted to play. It made too much sense — hometown, Derrick, Phil (Jackson), just everything. For me, it’s like a dream come true.”

It was clear during an interview last week in his Chicago residence, with its sweeping views of Lake Michigan and the skyline, that leaving the Bulls in the right way was important to him. “I have no anger towards nobody,” Noah said. “If we had a couple rough years at the end, I’m just still so grateful for the opportunity the Bulls gave me. It’s like a family to me. Even though it’s a new chapter for the end of my career to be in New York, I think Chicago is always going to be a home to me. Everywhere I go in this city, it’s always love. If I’m walking in the airport, wherever I am and someone’s from Chicago, it’s never animosity or negative or why did you leave us? It’s always very appreciative. And it’s humbling. I know free agency is a business. But I feel I always show a lot of respect for this city and its people. And I get love back for it. And it feels good.”

About five years ago, Noah says that he paid a visit to Phil Jackson at the Zen Master’s Montana retreat, after Jackson had left the Lakers’ bench and was semi-retired. The trip, which was sparked by mutual friends of both Noah and Jackson, now seems to have been a hint of things to come. “My father used to make me read (Jackson’s) books when I was a kid. I hate reading books, but I read his books,” says Noah. “I had an opportunity to go to Montana and meet (Jackson). So I took the plane, went to Montana, and I knock on his door. We start talking and he goes, ‘Why are you here?’ I said, ‘I don’t know.’ It was a great couple days. I got an opportunity to meet one of the legends and spend time with him. Life works in mysterious ways. Now we’re here.”

“I’ve been injured for the last couple years. It sucks. As an athlete, trust me, there’s nothing more I want than to be on the court. It doesn’t matter what anybody writes. At the end of the day, nobody cares about this s— more than me. I know. I’m the one putting in the work every day,” says Noah. “I’m going to be very passionate about this. And I always have been and always will. This is where I want to end my career, (play) ‘till the wheels fall off. Playing in this uniform means everything to me.”

“What a blessing. I feel like a rookie all over again,” says Noah, 31, as microphones and cameras record his every word and move during his Knicks introductory press conference, in which he sports a baseball cap with the logo “New York Made” on the front. “There’s definitely a buzz in the city. I think it’s on us to make it work. Winning in the Garden, I’m not gonna get a feeling like that anywhere else. I’m not here to just get a check and be happy. I want to be an animal. I want to make the city proud,” says Noah.

Can he be all that again after all those hard minutes played in Chicago over nine years? “After Chicago made him come off the bench to start last season before he hurt the shoulder, the Knicks are betting on his pride, to prove himself still one of the league’s premier centers,” Van Gundy said. “The length of the contract they’re talking about is scary, but if he’s healthy, you’re getting a really smart, tenacious player and as good a frontcourt passer as there is.”

Ian Begley: The Knicks are interested in Joakim Noah, but he isn’t the only big man on their radar. Another center some in the Knicks organization are high on is Timofey Mozgov, per league sources. The interest between Noah and the Knicks is strong and mutual. But Mozgov, an ex-Knick, provides an interesting alternative. With Carmelo Anthony, Derrick Rose and Kristaps Porzingis on the roster, the Knicks probably won’t need a high-scoring center. Mozgov doesn’t need touches and would provide mobile rim protection and rebounding. He also compares favorably to Noah in some categories (age: Mozgov is 29, Noah is 31; recent health: Noah was limited to 29 games last season due to a left shoulder injury).

Gar Forman insisted on draft night that the Bulls have every intention to sit down with free agent Joakim Noah and discuss the future come July 1. They need not bother. A source close to the situation not only shot down a report last month that the Bulls and Noah were having early “positive dialogue’’ on coming back together, but reiterated a Sun-Times story from late May in which Noah was telling teammates that he had no trust in the direction the front office was taking the team. So chalk up Forman’s optimism to the Bulls general manager simply trying to win the press conference.
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Moe Harkless on Lakers' radar

That doesn’t mean they aren’t looking, though. In fact, during an appearance on ESPN LA 710’s “The Sedano Show” on Tuesday, Sam Amick of The Athletic reported that the Lakers are waiting to see what happens with Moe Harkless, who was traded from the 37-18 LA Clippers to the 17-38 New York Knicks in the Marcus Morris deal earlier this month: “Moe Harkless is a name I’ve heard they’re interested in and monitoring and still have an eye on.”
This rumor is part of a storyline: 1 more rumor

Andre Drummond to be traded again?

There’s some belief around the league that the Cavaliers could look to flip Drummond as early as this summer. “I don’t think [Drummond and the Cavs] will last long,” one former NBA general manager said. “I could see them trading him to a team this summer if he agrees to pick up his option. They could also do a sign-and-trade if he agrees to a new long-term deal. I don’t think he’ll be in Cleveland for long.”
Altman admitted he and Drummond hadn’t talked about what he would do with his option before the trade, but he was fine sacrificing the Cavaliers’ upcoming salary-cap space for him. “Absolutely, we consider him a potential long-term play,” Altman said. “Obviously, he has a player option that if he picks up, we think we’re in good shape in terms of our cap space. There’s no better money spent than on Andre Drummond if he picks up his option.”
That didn’t make sense for a Cavs team focused on asset accumulation at this point. “Kevin and [agent] Jeff [Schwartz] wanted a trade, but I think both knew it probably wasn’t going to happen,” the former GM said. “It’s something they’ll push for again in the summer. I think he’ll be traded this summer since the free-agent market is so bare and the draft doesn’t look like anything special. Teams need to add talent somehow.”
“There’s a lot of bad contracts they could have traded him for. The Sixers would have traded Al Horford for him, but why would Cleveland do that? They want expiring money and picks,” the former GM said. “Portland could have made a deal work, but for what? They would have really had to look at their cap space and tax money for next year and asked how far a trade for Love would really push them. Would it make them a top-four seed in the West? I don’t think so.”
Storyline: Al Horford Trade?
So just to fact-check the popular narrative, Russell’s journey to Houston started with a phone call from you, James. He said he was interested, and then the Rockets front office made it happen. Harden: That simple. If the goal was for you guys to play together again, did you ever discuss James going back to OKC? Westbrook: Discuss James coming to OKC? Yeah. Westbrook: Oh, nah! [laughs] No, that wasn’t a thought. Harden: It’s impossible. It’s impossible? Harden: It’s impossible. Why? Westbrook: I never thought about that until now. [laughs]
When did you hit your growth spurt and take that next step as a player? Jaren Jackson Jr: I probably hit my growth spurt during freshman year or toward the end of freshman year. It was probably because, I don’t know, I was eating a lot of broccoli or something (laughs). Then, I just grew. I was about 6-foot-5 and then I became 6-foot-10 real quick, so I had to figure out how not to trip over myself all the time (laughs). Once I got all of that together, I was good!

Storyline: Klay Thompson Injury
As of Tuesday evening, even though Beilein stepping down was a mere formality, multiple coaches on staff hadn’t received an official update on Beilein’s immediate future, sources say. The Athletic reported that Beilein was prepared to walk away from the remainder of his deal, which was originally a four-year contract that contained a team option for the fifth year and was worth around $4 million per season.
The Timberwolves would retire Garnett’s jersey tomorrow if they could. He is far and away the most accomplished and most popular player to ever suit up here. The lone stretch of modest success enjoyed by the team was in KG’s prime. There appeared at one point to be a possible thawing of the iciness as recently as last season. But Garnett remains upset at owner Glen Taylor for the way things ended and a promise that he believes was broken.
Throughout that previous season, KG had made it clear behind the scenes that he planned on taking over as a primary decision-maker in the franchise. He wanted to be an owner and implement his own vision for where this team could go. That he wasn’t consulted on the decision not to retain Mitchell and the implementation of a new front office felt like a betrayal to him. “I think if you put enough blood, sweat and tears into these organizations, you should have at least the option to be able to buy into or have a piece of it,” Garnett said during an All-Star weekend appearance with Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson on their “All the Smoke” podcast. “Hell, you helped build it.
The reality is it is a delicate situation for them. They know that Garnett still holds a grudge against Taylor. They understand that there is a large gap to be bridged. They want things to be on good terms before such a festive event is planned. Wolves CEO Ethan Casson and COO Ryan Tanke, longtime franchise employees who have some rapport with Garnett, and Ryan Saunders, Flip’s son and the current head coach, have worked hard behind the scenes over the last several years to try to repair the organization’s relationship with its biggest star.
Former equipment manager Clayton Wilson, a longtime Garnett confidante, had a special jersey made for him and the organization bent over backward to make him feel welcome in his first game back since he retired. It was then that there was a belief that progress was being made. As it stands today, the Wolves still hold out hope that they are headed in the right direction toward the essential re-establishment of a connection with the team’s North Star.
The team Michael Jordan owns played host to the 2019 All-Star Game in Charlotte, N.C. The team Jordan led to six championships in the 1990s just played host to the 2020 All-Star Game in Chicago. Jordan made the briefest of public appearances last year, when he was essentially considered the All-Star grand marshal, and then stayed completely out of public view this year. Jordan defenders always tell me, when I bring this stuff up, that I cannot possibly understand how hard it is for His Airness to put himself out there. He’s a very private person, they always say, and makes it his mission to avoid the spotlight.
What does that player need to be to earn a signature sneaker? Harden: The whole package. Westbrook: You can’t just be one-dimensional. I didn’t deserve a signature shoe for a while, because I didn’t earn it. But I’ve earned my way, and now I have my own. I’m realistic when it pertains to that. Some players just get a shoe. Like James said: You gotta have the package. The fan base. Your play gotta speak, obviously. Outside of basketball, whatever else you got going on. You gotta be “that guy” to be able to have a shoe. Because nowadays everybody got a shoe. [laughs]
Storyline: Sneaker Deals
February 18, 2020 | 8:32 pm EST Update
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For the Clippers, Jackson’s expected signing would come with another benefit — keeping him away from the Lakers, who also hold interest in signing him to bolster their backcourt. The Clippers also acquired another Lakers target, New York forward Marcus Morris, ahead of the Feb. 6 trade deadline. Jackson, however, had eyes on the Clippers because of his close friendship with forward Paul George.
The Wade tributes — called “L3GACY Celebration” — will be held Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Friday’s event at AmericanAirlines Arena will be a series of tributes to honor Wade’s impact on the Heat and the South Florida community. Wade’s jersey No. 3 will be retired Saturday before the Heat host the Cavaliers. Sunday, a documentary will be screened highlighting Wade’s NBA career, with the 13-time All-Star and three-time champion addressing the crowd.
February 18, 2020 | 6:54 pm EST Update
Atkinson said Tuesday that it was not a specific play or practice that caused Irving to be in pain again, but rather something he’s been dealing with continuously. “The shoulder is a tough thing,” Atkinson said. “I just think it was an on and off thing where it’s bothering you. Some days you feel good, some days you don’t feel good. But I think it got to the point it was, ‘Hey let’s see another specialist.'”