Jeff Hornacek won’t commit to Joakim Noah starting next season
Joakim Noah’s first season with the New York Knicks is likely over, and the outlook for the future doesn’t appear to be much brighter either.
Speaking with the media on Monday, Knicks head coach Jeff Hornacek wouldn’t commit to the idea of Noah as a starter for next season and alluded to an open competition, per Ian Begley of ESPN.
Hornacek asked if Noah's viewed as a starter next season. As expected, he said that things will be open for competition at beginning of year
— Ian Begley (@IanBegley) February 27, 2017
It was announced earlier in the day that the 32-year-old Noah needs arthroscopic knee surgery and is expected to miss the remainder of the year. He was averaging 5.0 points, 8.7 rebounds, and 2.2 assists per game this season, starting in all 46 of his appearances for the Knicks (though they had previously flirted with the idea of benching him). The ex-Defensive Player of the Year had also been showing some major slippage on that end of the floor, ranking 35th just among centers in defensive real plus-minus (per ESPN).
The Knicks can afford to bench Noah with shot-blocker/low-post threat Kyle O’Quinn and promising rookie big man Willy Hernangomez both in tow. But the four-year, $72.5 million deal that they signed Noah to this past summer already had a case for being the worst contract in the NBA today, and this latest development will only serve to strengthen it.