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Paul Pierce: “I wouldn’t be surprised if [Joakim] Noah ends up there [Timberwolves] this year also. That would be an odd situation. That’d be kind of weird.”
Their plan is to not sign anyone to long-term deals and to shed contracts that have more than one year remaining. That means Courtney Lee and Joakim Noah might not be Knicks much longer.
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.
Bobby Marks: Re: the $37M left on the contract of Joakim Noah. Same situation played out in 2003 with Dikembe Mutombo and New Jersey. Mutombo gave back $10M of the $37M owed but earned it back in his next contract (with NYK). This is the case study that New York should follow.
Ian Begley: Assuming the Knicks don’t find a trade for Joakim Noah, opposing executives expect OKC and Minnesota to be among the teams interested in Noah if he’s waived or bought out by the Knicks, per sources. As of earlier this week, Noah remained opposed to a buyout, sources say.
Ian Begley: Opposing executives say the Knicks continue to take calls on center Kyle O’Quinn and guard Courtney Lee. New York is also still trying to trade Joakim Noah as well.
The New York Knicks and center Joakim Noah seem to be at an impasse that may be unrepairable. Noah and Knicks head coach Jeff Hornacek were reported to have gotten into a very heated exchange that ended up with Noah being sent home. A league source familiar with the Knicks’ thinking suggested New York may be open to giving up their first-round pick this year to offload Noah without needing to buy him out or carry a monster cap hit. The prevailing thought was the Knicks wouldn’t be bad enough to land one of the gems of the draft class, and with so much youth on the roster now, a one year hit to jettison Noah seems to be at least under consideration.
Exiled New York Knicks center Joakim Noah won’t be required to return to the team before the passing of the Feb. 8 NBA trade deadline, league sources told ESPN. The Knicks and Noah’s representation discussed his status Wednesday and agreed that Noah would stay away from the team until the front office can exhaust any trade possibilities between now and the deadline, league sources said.
Adrian Wojnarowski: As the New York Knicks discuss possible trade scenarios, exiled center Joakim Noah won’t be required to return to the team prior to the Feb. 8 trade deadline, league sources tell ESPN. Noah was sent away after a practice confrontation with Jeff Hornacek on Jan. 24.
Ian Begley: Sources tell @Adrian Wojnarowski and me: Status quo on Joakim Noah’s situation w/Knicks. Noah is away from the team working out and awaiting the Knicks to deliver him direction on the next steps. There have been no conversations about a buyout on the 3 yrs, $56 million left on his deal.
Marc Stein: League sources tell @NYTSports that talks between the Knicks and Noah are scheduled for later this week to discuss his return to the team.
Ian Begley: Sources tell @Adrian Wojnarowski and me: Joakim Noah left the team late last week after a lengthy disconnect with Jeff Horancek and the coaching staff. Noah has no inclination to give back significant money on his contact in any buyout.
Shams Charania: Sources: After heated verbal exchange in practice between Joakim Noah and coach Jeff Hornacek last week, the Knicks are exploring avenues to part with Noah. He has two years remaining on the four-year, $72M deal he signed in 2016.
There’s uncertainty about whether Noah will rejoin the team in New York this week, league sources said. Sources said the Knicks have yet to broach a contract buyout with Noah, but that is an avenue the franchise could pursue should their aggressive trade searches fail. Noah, a two-time All-Star, remains steadfast in his belief that he could help a team and play rotational minutes. So far, Noah — whose return from a league drug suspension this season included a stint in the G League — has yet to gain legitimate minutes in the Knicks’ rotation and remains behind big men Kyle O’Quinn and Willy Hernangomez.
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.”
The NBA source said it’s very possible Joakim Noah will not be around when the Knicks resume action at the Garden on Tuesday against the Nets and then play Wednesday in Boston. The Knicks will then travel from Boston to Milwaukee to face the Bucks on Friday. Meanwhile, an NBA source who has spoken to Knicks brass told The Post their effort to trade Noah and his $72 million contract has ramped up. However, in past conversations with teams, the only way clubs would consider taking on Noah’s pact is if the Knicks tossed in their 2018 first-round pick – which is looking more and more like a lottery selection. The Knicks are 4-14 in their last 18 games to fall a season-low seven games below .500 at 21-28.
Joakim Noah may not rejoin the Knicks until next Thursday in Milwaukee, according to a person familiar with the situation. Noah still has family and friends in nearby Chicago and it is where his charity foundation “Noah’s Arc” is located and run by his mother. Unhappy with his invisible role, with the Golden State fiasco the trigger point, Noah has taken a leave of absence and left the club Thursday morning in Denver. The Knicks are hopeful he returns sooner.
The Knicks refuse to part with their potential lottery pick, even if it would open up major salary-cap space in the summers of 2018, 2019 and 2020. Noah will make $18.5 million next season and $19.2 million in 2019-20. The Knicks still plan to ask teams around the league about Noah. Some in the organization feel he can still help the Knicks defensively. Noah left the club Thursday morning in Denver after being “pissed,’’ as one source put it, at being removed in the Golden State game after playing just 4:31 of fourth-quarter garbage time on a night Kristaps Porzingis and Kyle O’Quinn sat out. Noah was visibly upset in the locker room after the game.
One thought — if the Knicks get into the sweepstakes — is giving up their 2019 first-round pick along with Ntilikina in hopes of Charlotte taking on the remaining years of Joakim Noah’s contract. (The Hornets can always use the stretch provision on Noah after the season). Another NBA source added that the Hornets will be asking teams to take back one of their larger contracts like, Nicolas Batum, Marvin Williams or Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, making a Knicks’ match even more unlikely.
“We know that is looming,’’ Perry said before the Knicks’ 112-99 loss to the Magic. “We’re going to have to address the roster. We’ve been working through the process for a few weeks. By Sunday at 5 p.m., there’ll be a resolution one way or another. Whether it’s a trade or waive an individual.’’
Of course, trading Noah, who has three years remaining on a four-year, $72 million contract, is an option, though a highly unlikely one. New York has made Noah available in conversations with several teams since the end of last season, per league sources, but hasn’t found a suitable deal. Noah, 32, averaged 5.0 points and 8.8 rebounds in 46 games for the Knicks. He missed time due to several injuries and underwent knee surgery midway through the season.
Sources told Ramona Shelburne and I that Noah’s name came up in multiple discussions about possible Porzingis trades with Jackson and the Knicks looking to send out the remainder of the four-year, $72 million contract that he signed last offseason. Butler factored in because one of the many offers discussed between Boston and the Knicks, per sources, included Boston’s third pick, a second 2017 lottery pick and an additional player (Jaylen Brown, Avery Bradley and Marcus Smart were among the names discussed).
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.
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January 27, 2021 | 8:36 pm EST Update
“I see why there’s a comparison. Obviously, LeBron is one of the greatest to ever do it and Ben has the potential given the size, ability, and speed, but it’s unfair. It’s unfair to compare anybody to LeBron or compare anybody to Michael Jordan, especially at a young age.”
Attempts to grow closer as a team are confronting a world in which proximity to teammates is both dangerous and prohibited. As a result, NBA players and staffs have been reduced to distant conversations through face masks, and a road life dominated by individual screens rather than collective camaraderie. “The reality is that you can’t do stuff like that anymore,” Haslem said. “Those opportunities don’t exist.” In Indiana Pacers center Myles Turner’s words: “It’s a bubble within a bubble.”
STARTING AN AVERAGE day on the road, an NBA player must now wake up as early as 7:30 a.m. to be tested before a practice or shootaround, depending on the market. He then returns to his room to catch another hour or so of sleep, or to busy himself with a video game, an episode of a series or maybe a FaceTime session with family back home. A couple of hours later, he reports downstairs to board the team bus. The wait in the lobby is traditionally a time when players schmooze and hang out, but with everyone at least 6 feet apart and masked, the vibe has taken on an edgy quality.
Pre-practice strategy sessions at the hotel can no longer last more than 10 minutes. Shootaround or practice offer some normalcy, but breakfast back at the hotel in a ballroom, typically a communal ritual where players and staff yuck it up at tables for eight, now operates as a grab-and-go. Want some fresh air? Forget about taking a walk outside, even though the CDC and other leading medical institutions regard outdoor activities with the appropriate precautions as low risk.
Back in the hotel room, the walls close in for players. More video games and binge watching. Myles Turner has delved into Narcos and has been playing Cyberpunk 2077, while Sacramento Kings guard Cory Joseph recently watched the Tony Parker documentary on Netflix. “I don’t think locking up in a room for 24 hours just coming out to play basketball is mentally healthy,” Haslem said. “I need to go out and take a walk because there are things that can pile up that have nothing to do with the game of basketball. And you’re saying that I can’t even go take a walk? I don’t think that’s right. Even in the bubble, you can go take a walk and get some fresh air.”
This season, that ground rarely extends much past the door to a hotel room. The Spurs’ custom on the plane has been effectively prohibited. Under the new guidelines, players must sit next to the same guys they sit next to on the bench during games. On an off night, it’s dinners for one in the room — a far cry from the jovial dining out experience in a road city. “I think that’s hard — having options taken away,” Holiday said. “You might go to your favorite city, and have a favorite food spot that people might not know about. And that’s something that you can bring to the table, something you share, and [this season] you can’t really share that.”