Report: Knicks looking into shedding Joakim Noah, who got into argument with Jeff Hornacek

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Joakim Noah is on what was called a personal leave of absence from the Knicks.

Turns out, his separation from the team might be permanent.

Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:

The Knicks surely wanted to drop Noah even before his spat with Jeff Hornacek. Noah is earning $17,765,000 this season and due $37,825,000 over the next two years, and the 32-year-old is mostly ineffective on the court.

But because he’s so undesirable, the Knicks surely couldn’t trade him without attaching significant sweeteners. Look how much trouble the Lakers have had trying to dump Luol Deng. Noah’s contract is even worse. The sweetener demands from teams to take Noah are almost certainly so great, New York would never meet them.

That leaves waiving Noah.

It could be in conjunction with a buyout, but why would Noah leave money on the table? His career might be over if he becomes a free agent.

If the Knicks waive Noah without a buyout, they’d have two options after paying out the rest of his $17,765,000 salary this season:

  • Pay Noah $18,530,000 next season and $19,295,000 the following season
  • Pay Noah $7,565,000 each of the following five years via the stretch provision

The tricky part: They’d have to decide within a day of cutting him. It’s tough to know how useful that extra $10,965,000 would be this summer, let alone how useful an extra $11,730,000 would be in 2019. Are those differences worth a cap hit of $7,565,000 the following three years?

If Noah is truly disruptive, the Knicks would probably be better off sending him home and leaving him on the roster. They have to pay him regardless, but that way, they could wait until gaining clarity next summer. Even then, they’d be doing some guesswork on 2019 and beyond, but at least they’d know whom they could acquire this summer.