The New York Knicks mean business this summer and, following the blockbuster trade for Derrick Rose, it appears as though they are primed to steal his former teammate, Joakim Noah, away from Chicago too.
Noah is a former Defensive Player of the Yeat and a two-time All-Star, but knee and shoulder injuries have hindered his influence on the floor in recent seasons. He only managed 29 appearances last term and just two of those came in the starting five.
Under Tom Thibodeau, though, Noah was one of the best big men in the league. His defensive capabilities shone through in the Windy City, but his distribution for his size is undoubtedly one of his major strengths as well.
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According to Chris Broussard of ESPN, league sources have indicated that Noah and the New York Knicks are nearing an agreement on a four-year deal worth $72 million. The report reads:
"Noah will meet with the Knicks on Friday in Orlando, Florida, sources said.
"The Knicks had emerged as the strong favorite to sign the free-agent big man, league sources previously told ESPN. Sources said multiple teams interested in the native New Yorker had all but conceded that the Knicks were his runaway preferred destination."
Of course, it makes sense. Noah is the hometown boy and the Knicks need a pivot after trading Robin Lopez away as part of the deal to bring Rose to the Big Apple.
Noah's ties to Rose will no doubt have helped grease the wheels for Phil Jackson and the Knicks who with Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis also on the roster are building quite the contender in the east.
No deals can be signed until July 7, but teams and free agents were able to start coming to verbal agreements on contracts starting at 12:01 a.m. today. Whilst the 31-year-old is free to explore his options for the rest of the week, it seems like this is as good as a done deal.
ESPN's sources also said the Knicks haven't ruled out the possibility of meeting with Kevin Durant, who is already firmly entrenched in the six meetings he agreed to take which did not include New York.
It's hard to imagine how the Knicks could afford KD at this juncture with Anthony and Rose already earning north of $20 million per season and Noah weighing in slightly below that.
They'd have to convince the hottest agent on the market to take a pay cut in order to make the dream happen, and, even then, KD and Melo both play at the three spot; how would the Knicks manage to get their best team on the floor at the same time?
It's also curious that the Bulls failed to make the playoffs last year and that was, in part, down to the injuries Noah and Rose sustained. It's a risk to bank on those two playing 70 games or more next season, but it's one Jackson appears to be fully invested in.