New York Knicks: Five worst contract signings in franchise history

New York Knicks Joakim Noah (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
New York Knicks Joakim Noah (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /
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New York Knicks
(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

1. Joakim Noah: Four years, $72 million

The most recent contract on this list is also the worst of them all in New York Knicks history and a result of the historically mind-boggling offseason in 2016.

With fresh cap space to use, president of basketball operations, Phil Jackson, gave Joakim Noah a four-year, $72 million contract, after two injury-plagued years with the Chicago Bulls and a deteriorating impact on the game. He had just 4.3 points and 8.8 rebounds in 29 appearances.

Jackson took a questionable risk on a once-productive NBA player, and it failed immediately and miserably.

Noah started all 46 games he appeared in, in 2016-17 for 5.0 points and 8.8 rebounds. The other 36 games were missed due to knee surgery and a drug suspension, which, given how late it was into the season, made him miss the first 10 games of 2017-18.

More injuries derailed the first half of Noah’s second season with the Knicks. He eventually returned healthy, but fell out of favor with head coach Jeff Hornacek. This featured minimal playing time — seven appearances — and a spat that led to the Florida product’s exile for the rest of the year.

Still on the roster in October 2018, the Knicks finally cut ties with Noah, except he did not take a buyout, nor did a willing trade partner exist. The team had to waive his 2018-19 salary and stretch his 2019-20 money into three years:

  • 2019-20: $6.431 million
  • 2020-21: $6.431 million
  • 2021-22: $6.431 million

These figures count towards the salary cap, as well, so it is dead money sitting on the payroll, impacting New York’s financial flexibility.

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This seemed like a necessary move when superstars signing with the Knicks was inevitable, until they lost on Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and Kawhi Leonard. Now, instead of letting this contract quietly leave the books, it lives on in infamy, staying on the books for six years instead of four. Meanwhile, Noah can play and make money elsewhere. Not a great look.