It’s done (reportedly): Joakim Noah reaches four-year, $72 million deal with Knicks

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New York has made a big bet on a body that has been seemingly breaking down.

As has been expected since before free agency opened, the New York Knicks have signed former Bulls’ center Joakim Noah to a four-year, $72 million contract. Ramona Shelburne of ESPN broke the story.

This reunites Noah and his Bulls running mate Derrick Rose, who was traded to the Knicks recently (for Robin Lopez, which opened up the New York center slot for Noah). Combine those two with Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis (who should take a step forward in his second season) and the Knicks look like a playoff team in the East. The long-term picture in New York is still fuzzy (save for Porzingis) but the team should win more games.

However, four fully guaranteed years of Noah is a big risk by the Knicks.

Noah played 29 games last season due to shoulder surgery. Because of back and foot issues he has played more than 70 games in just one of the last five seasons. Due to the injuries, when he has played he hasn’t been quite the same guy the past couple of seasons.

When healthy Noah still brings value. He is an elite rim protector and rebounder, he is a long and athletic defender, and he knows how to quarterback a defense. He’s not going to score much, but he is an excellent passing big who works well from the elbow/high post. Just a few years ago when healthy, he won Defensive Player of the Year.

The Knicks are betting he can be that guy again, or at least close to it. A lot of other teams were not willing to take that gamble.

Even if they get a year or two of quality play, but the fourth year of that deal it could be a mess.