In the summer of 2016, the New York Knicks signed free agent center Joakim Noah to a four-year, $72.6 million contract.
In the end, it might end up going down as the worst in NBA history.
In 2016-2017, he averaged 5.0 points and 8.8 rebounds in 22.1 minutes over 46 games played. Last season, he was limited to just seven games and he put up 1.7 points and 2.0 boards in 5.7 minutes.
In February, the Knicks officially announced that they and Noah had agreed to mutually part ways and he took a leave of absence from the team. Multiple reports indicated that a disagreement with then-coach Jeff Hornacek in practice led to him being sent home.
When Hornacek was fired at the end of the season and David Fizdale took his place, the idea of Noah’s return arose. After all, since he’s guaranteed $37.8 million over the next two years, it’s unlikely that he gets traded (unless the Knicks give up draft picks or a young player or two). Injuries and a suspension have plagued Noah’s time in New York, so maybe both sides would benefit from a second chance and a fresh start.
But, it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen.
“If the Knicks can’t find a taker for Joakim Noah, 33, the league’s 2014 defensive player of the year, or can’t get him to agree to a buyout, which was a plan met with resistance in the past, the team likely will use the waive and stretch provision to dump the veteran in September, league sources confirmed Wednesday,” Fred Kerber of the New York Post reported.
If a trade doesn’t work and they can’t come to a buyout agreement, the Knicks are reportedly prepared to use the stretch provision to alleviate Noah’s yearly salary cap hit.
According to ESPN, the Knicks can spread out the money owed to Noah over the next three years. If they implement the stretch provision on September 1 or later, his cap hit would decrease $12.9 million all the way down to $6.4 million.
Therefore, that would open up some cap space which will undoubtedly come in handy next summer when a number of high-profile free agents will be available.
In the end, Noah’s time in New York can now be considered over. Looking back decades from now, it might rank towards the top of the “worst contracts of all-time” list.
The presence of incumbent starter Enes Kanter, the re-signing of Luke Kornet and the drafting of Mitchell Robinson, who was wildly impressive in the Summer League, most likely made the decision to pursue a separation from Noah much easier than it could have been for the Knicks.