The Knicks have a problem on their hands, but it’s a problem Jeff Hornacek doesn’t seem to mind having. Joakim Noah, who just finished serving a 20 game suspension, is now on the bench along side his teammates…..but in his street clothes. With an abundance of centers on the Knicks roster and how well they have been playing, Hornacek basically said there is no room to play him right now. Hornacek and the organization couldn’t be any more right with this decision.
So now what about that atrocious Joakim Noah contract? A player in street clothes making about $18 million a year with 3 years left is just going to sit and not suit up? Well, maybe the Knicks organization is considering looking at the stretch provision. You might ask what is that? In the NBA, the stretch provision allows the organization to waive a player and stretch his remaining salary and cap hit over a number of years equal to the years remaining on his contract plus one. So by doing this with Noah, he would receive about $7.5 million per season for the next 5 years. This also gives the Knicks about $11 million in extra cap space for next year and $12 million for the year after that.
Right now with Noah’s contract, the Knicks have no cap space. Waiving him outright or finding a compatible trade suitor will not help the Knicks because that money would still be on the books. But by this “stretch” provision that the NBA provides, this in my opinion is best long term for the Knicks. It also gives them the opportunity to pursue a big free agent next summer when Lebron James and Paul George look to headline the free agent class.
Again only my opinion but this is what I feel the Knicks should do. The Knicks also have time in which to come up with a plan since they won’t have to make a decision til September 1, 2018 based on the stretch rule. Right now Noah will be looked to serve as a mentor to the Knicks young centers during practice until they ask him to dress. On a positive, the team did vote him this year the defensive captain so you can tell he is well liked by his teammates.
Also with Noah gone, the Knicks have themselves above .500 with Kristaps Porzingis at the helm of this new look team. It’s so rough with the abundance of centers, and the team playing so well, that Hornacek doesn’t look to get the fan favorite 2nd year center Willy Hernangomez into the in-game rotation. At this time Enes Kanter (acquired in the Carmelo Anthony trade) and Kyle O’Quinn (Brooklyn Native) have provided everything the Knicks need from the center position.