The Joakim Noah era in New York will finally come to an end after the Knicks announced they were waiving the 33-year-old on Saturday. The New York Daily News reports that Noah did not take a buyout deal, which would have reduced his earnings, as well as the cap hit on the Knicks, and was waived outright. The team will have to pay the former All-Star $6.4 million annually until 2022.
Since signing a four-year, $72 million contract in 2016, which even seemed like a bad idea at the time, Noah’s time with the Knicks has been filled with utter disappointment. The center was suspended for 20 games at the end of the 2016-17 season—where he only played 47 games—for violating the league’s anti-drug policy. Two months after his suspension was announced, he underwent surgery for a left torn rotator cuff. He didn’t play again until November 2017, and was sent down to the D-League just two days after being reactivated. Noah has been away from the team since January after reportedly getting into a heated altercation with former Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek.
Not at lot has been heard from Noah’s side after that incident outside of this wild post on Earth Day where he showed off his new blonde hair and his deep, deep love for the planet.
Even if it does cost them a pretty penny over the next few years, the Knicks do end up on the right side of this situation. The team saves $13 million in cap space for this upcoming summer free agency period, and they’re almost full over the Phil Jackson era. But since this is the Knicks, the positivity from this waiving will certainly be offset by giving someone like Al Jefferson a $10 million contract.
It’s tough to say whether Noah will play in the league again. His defensive prowess relied a lot on his explosive athleticism that has certainly deteriorated due to injury, and he doesn’t have the shooting range for the modern game. The only possible coach that could want him would be Tom Thibodeau, but thankfully for Timberwolves fans, Woj already quelled that fear.