Could the recent trade of Ryan Anderson cause the New York Knicks to reevaluate the Joakim Noah situation?
With the season less than six weeks away, teams are gearing up for the start of training camp at the end of the month. The entire season for the New York Knicks is squarely focused on–the following offseason. One of the leading stories for the 2018-19 season will be the handling of exiled Knick, Joakim Noah.
According to ESPN’s Ian Begley, the Knicks are still expected to use the waive-and-stretch provision on the former Defensive Player of the Year, in order to free cap space in the offseason. However, with the recent trade of Ryan Anderson to the Suns, the Knicks may have another course of action for Noah.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski first reported that the Houston Rockets have trade Ryan Anderson and De’Anthony Melton to the Phoenix Suns for Marquese Chriss and Brandon Knight. The Rockets finally found a trade partner for Anderson’s albatross contract. Anderson is set to make about 15 million this season—reports are Anderson agreed to reduce his salary for the trade—and 21 million next. Using this as a framework, the Knicks have to consider trading Noah.
With Noah still on the active roster, his 18.5 million is now fully guaranteed for the 2018-2019 season. Reports are that the Minnesota Timberwolves are still interested in acquiring Noah and recently released Los Angeles Laker, Luol Deng.
A trade between the Timberwolves and the Knicks isn’t that crazy to conceive:
Minnesota Timberwolves Receive: C Joakim Noah
New York Knicks Receive: PF Zach Randolph and SG Ben McLemore
Sacramento Kings Receive: C Gorgui Dieng and Knicks 2021 second round pick
In this move the Knicks’ not only get off of Noah’s contract, they receive cap space for the 2019 offseason. For Minnesota, they add a veteran player who had his best seasons under head coach Tom Thibodeau. And for Sacramento, they receive a young back up center who has a manageable contract, while obtaining a second round pick in a year where high school players can enter the draft. While this is simply a framework for a deal, there are still issues with the trade.
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Despite what fans believe, General Managers in the NBA are highly intelligent, most carrying degrees from the top schools and universities in the world. If a blogger sitting at home could come up with this trade, then Knicks GM Scott Perry could have as well. The issue with the trade is how much are the Knicks willing to part with in order to escape the Phil Jackson hell hole.
Minnesota already have one of their players scheduled to hit free-agency in Jimmy Butler. Butler recently turned down a contract extension from the wolves earlier this summer in order to hit free-agency. Would Minnesota want to take on more money when they need to keep Butler on the roaster? That remains to be seen; but, with Thibodeau working as his own boss, he may risk adding Noah just to reform the 2011 Chicago Bulls.
Sacramento desire to add an additional big man to their roaster could become problematic. If this trade were to go through, the Kings would roaster seven “bigs” on their team. In a league that is going small, a team full of low-post players seems like a plan for the 1990’s. Some of those bigs the Kings have are on one-year contracts, so it would make sense for the Kings to try and unload some of them in order to gain assets for future drafts. Sacramento has never attracted a prime-time free agent in their history, so working out smart trades are the best way for them to become a relevant franchise.
While Knicks fans, with their Woj Twitter alerts on, wait for the moment Noah is no longer with the team, there is no rush to part ways with the embattled center.
So long as Noah has interest around the league, the Knicks need to look at every option before they consider releasing him. While trading Noah seemed all but impossible, no one believed Houston could get off the Anderson contract. The Knicks can do the same.