Reports: New York Knicks expected to sign Joakim Noah to a $18 million-a-year deal

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The summer has started brightly for the New York Knicks after they picked up Derrick Rose in a draft night trade with the Chicago Bulls.

Phil Jackson has been under considerable pressure to bring playoff basketball to Madison Square Garden since he took over as president in the Big Apple in 2014, and is wasting no time this offseason in building what - on paper - looks like a very strong team.

With a 'big three' forming in the shape of Rose, Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis, it is being reported that another former Chicago player will be making his way to New York imminently.

Joakim Noah is an unrestricted free agent after nine years in Illinois and it is widely suggested he will sign on with the Knicks - once free agency begins - with a salary of $18 million-a-year.

The 31-year-old endured an injury-hit campaign in 2015/16 and was limited to just 29 appearances before having season-ending shoulder surgery. In those outings, he averaged 4.3 points and 8.8 rebounds a night.

Throughout his time with the Bulls, who drafted him with the ninth pick in 2007, he was a two-time All-Star, an All-NBA first team selection in 2014 and Defensive Player of the Year in the same season. During his career, he has averaged 9.3 points and 9.4 rebounds while shooting an effective field goal percentage of 49.

The Bulls are in the midst of a roster overturn and it had long been expected that Noah and fellow big man Pau Gasol would depart the organisation. Robin Lopez's arrival in the trade with the Knicks signalled they were looking for something new and are planning to rebuild their team around All-Star shooting guard Jimmy Butler.

Having lost Lopez, the Knicks have been searching for a big man to play alongside rookie sensation Porzingis. Noah fits the bill as a defence-first player, who can bridge the gap between offence and defence.

Melo and D-Rose may be fantastic players in attack, but their defensive capabilities are often brought into question and the New York native will be vital to any hopes they have of reaching the playoffs for the first time since 2013. 

Nothing is confirmed just yet, but it would come as a surprise if Noah did not return to his hometown for the 2016/17 season. Although Sam Amick of USA Today is reporting he will still meet with three teams. 

Looking at the names, the Knicks would have a team more than capable of challenging in the Eastern Conference. However, there are issues that come with the likes of Anthony and Rose. Both players are primarily isolation attackers and, despite Melo making a concerted effort to pass more, old habits die hard.

It may take time for things to come together in the Garden, but it will certainly be an exciting year in the Big Apple.

Joakim Noah
Chicago Bulls
Central Division
Eastern Conference
New York Knicks
Atlantic Division

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