Report: Joakim Noah and the Knicks mutually part ways

Boston Celtics v New York Knicks

If you had to rank the NBA’s worst contracts at the center position, who would top the list?

Ian Manhinmi signed a four-year, $64 million deal with the Washington Wizards before the 2016-2017 season. Currently in the second year of that deal, he’s averaging 4.0 points and 3.7 rebounds in 14.3 minutes per game. Therefore, he’s an option.

Bismack Biyombo signed a four-year, $72 million deal with the Orlando Magic before the 2016-2017 campaign. Also in the second year of his deal, he’s averaging 5.5 points and 5.9 rebounds in 18.9 minutes. He’s also in play.

Omer Asik agreed to a five-year, $57.98 million contract with the New Orleans Pelicans before the 2015-2016 season. Now in the third year of that deal, he is putting up a whopping 1.3 points and 2.6 boards in 8.6 minutes over 14 games played. He was recently traded to the Chicago Bulls, where he will most likely rarely see the court. Therefore, he’s another strong choice.

Timofey Mozgov famously signed a four-year, $64 million free agent deal with the Los Angeles Lakers before the 2016-2017 season, coming off of a championship-winning stint with the Cleveland Cavaliers. After gradually losing playing time over the course of last season with the Lakers, he completely fell out of the rotation and was even shut down at the end of the year. Traded to the Brooklyn Nets as part of the D’Angelo Russell deal, he is not getting any playing time behind Jarrett Allen, Jahlil Okafor and Tyler Zeller on the depth chart and is averaging 4.4 points and 3.4 rebounds in 12.8 minutes over 25 games played.

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If you thought it couldn’t get worse than that, it can.

Joakim Noah’s four-year, $72.59 million contract with the New York Knicks takes the cake. In just the second year of the deal, he has already suffered a major injury (last season), was suspended for performance-enhancing drugs (last season into the beginning of this one) and has not been able to beat out Enes Kanter, Kyle O’Quinn or Willy Hernangomez on the depth chart. Overall, he has averaged 1.7 points and 2.0 rebounds in 5.7 minutes in seven games played.

He has been a healthy scratch for most of the season and has become increasingly disgruntled over his lack of playing time. That frustration boiled over and resulted in a recent heated argument with coach Jeff Hornaeck at practice.

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That seemed to be the tipping point for the organization.

After that, the Knicks sent him home for what was initially deemed to be a couple days. But now it appears as though Noah’s time in the Big Apple is done.

According to Marc Berman of the New York Post, a Knicks team official said that Noah and the team have “mutually agreed” that he “won’t be back with the team until further notice”.

Boston Celtics v New York Knicks

Berman also noted that Noah is desperately hoping that the Knicks find a way to trade him. But, given his salary, that seems like a long shot. Therefore, a buyout seems to be a logical option.

Last week, the New York Post reported that other teams would only consider trading for Noah if the Knicks included their 2018 first-round pick. Since New York is attempting to rebuild, that’s most likely not something they’re willing to do.

“At this point, these are the guys here,’’ Hornacek said, regarding Noah’s absence. “We have to move on with the guys now. We’ll see what happens going forward. (Noah) works hard but it ultimately goes to the point of our team and where we’re at, what stage we’re at. He’s not with us right now. When that time comes, we’ll have to figure it out.’’

Memphis Grizzlies v New York Knicks

Kristaps Porzingis valued Noah’s veteran know-how and believes that he still has a lot to offer on another team if given the opportunity.

“He was helping us — the young guys — a lot,’’ Porzingis said. “Defensively he’s one of the most experienced players on the team, defensive anchor on the team, a lot of things we’re able to learn from him. (But) in that situation, (it) was tough to give us more. He wanted to be playing (and) in this whole thing.”

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“He looked great in practices. He worked hard. Even the minutes he played, he did well. I’m 100 percent sure he wants to go somewhere else — whatever happens — he would be valuable for another team,” Porzingis explained.

It remains to be seen if Noah will be traded before the February 8 deadline. One team that may be interested in him is the Minnesota Timberwolves since coach Tom Thibodeau and star Jimmy Butler were a part of Noah’s success with the Chicago Bulls earlier in his career. According to ESPN’s Trade Machine, a swap of backup center Gorgui Dieng and Noah would work financially.

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