This bomb from Shams Charania was basically just a matter of turning subtext into text:
Of course the Knicks have been “exploring avenues” to offload the NBA’s worst contract. And of course they would have seized on any opportunity to do so, had one come up over the last year. If there was a way, they’d have done it. The only thing that has changed now, reportedly, is the relationship between the Knicks and Noah, which has deteriorated to some untenable level. Apparently he can no longer moulder peacefully on the bench. Noah, who has appeared in only seven games this year, is currently on absent for “personal reasons” per the Knicks, and did not practice with the team today.
There aren’t a whole lot of palatable options for dealing with this albatross of a contract, as Yaron Weitzman broke down last month. Noah is trade poison; has no incentive to retire; could maybe be bought out if he had reason to believe he could get paid elsewhere (it looks like he has no desire to be bought out); and most dreadfully, could waive using the stretch provision.
Stretching a contract entails spreading out the remaining cap hit over twice as many years, plus one. That means the $38 million Noah is owed over the remaining two years of his contract could be paid out over five years instead. This would eat even further into the Knicks future, hampering them well into that hypothetical era where Kristaps Porzingis and Frank Ntilikina make them a decent team. They’re in no rush to get anywhere; they should just eat the cap hit over the next two years and move on. It’s very, very difficult to envision Hornacek-Noah drama bad enough for them to take a move that would kneecap their future as a franchise. But the Knicks will always, always find a way to surprise you.