Joakim Noah seems to be in the acceptance stage of his decline as a player.
The New York Knicks big man admitted on Friday that he “probably” will never be the same player that he once was, per Steve Popper of USA TODAY.
Noah asked if he feels he can be the player he was: "Probably not."
— Steve Popper (@StevePopper) November 17, 2017
Noah, 32, has averaged just 4.7 points per game over his last two seasons of play and has made just 75 total appearances over that span. He also has yet to play in 2017-18 thanks to a combination of injury and a drug suspension.
It is a disastrous admission considering that the Knicks signed the former Defensive Player of the Year to a four-year, $72.6 million deal just last year. His stint in New York has been known more for its lowlights than anything, and it seems Noah owns perhaps the single worst contract in the NBA today.
Jimmy Butler and Joakim Noah were tight for the first handful of years during Butler’s NBA career, but things changed and the two grew apart during Noah’s final year with the team, according to a report.
ESPN’s Nick Friedell has an excellent feature on the downfall of the Bulls, a team that showed so much promise when they reached the Eastern Conference Finals behind MVP Derrick Rose in the 2010-2011 season. The Bulls changed coaches, have blown up their team, and now look like one of the worst franchises in the league.
In his feature, Friedell has a lot of sources talking both on and off the record. One notable item he shared is that Noah and Butler clashed in the 2015-2016 season, which was Noah’s final season before he left for the Knicks in free agency. Friedell says the two “engaged in several heated disagreements throughout that season.”
Both talked about their relationship and noted that things changed.
“What happened?” Butler told Friedell. “I don’t know. All I can say is, obviously he’s been with me since I was a nobody in this league. And I went about things a lot differently. My voice wasn’t heard. And he’s been with me as I came to be an All-Star as well in this league. And my voice was heard then. And when my voice is heard, I’m going to let it be heard.”
“We’re just different people,” Noah said to ESPN. “We were always very close; me and Jimmy were always very close, but things change.”
One issue that evolved is that Butler grew frustrated over his feeling that Noah wasn’t working as hard as he was. Butler had gone from being a bench player when he was first drafted to becoming an All-Star through his hard work, and he expected others to work as hard as he did.
Butler is now in Minnesota and playing under Tom Thibodeau, a coach he believes suits him well. Noah is recovering from shoulder surgery and was suspended in March for a violation of the league’s anti-doping policy.
Kenyon Martin does not think much of New York Knicks center Joakim Noah.
The former NBA player ripped Noah — and Knicks president Phil Jackson — in a Friday interview with Hot 97.
Martin first took aim at Jackson, criticizing his talent evaluation — which led to him unloading on Noah, the Knicks’ $72 million bust.
“Picking talent? That ain’t his strong suit, as you can tell,” Martin said of Jackson, via Thomas Duffy of Bleacher Report. “The man gave Joakim Noah $70 million. Boy can’t hit his a– with both hands. … That boy sucks.”
Martin took things a step further, ripping Noah for his infamous missed free throw and challenging him to play for his contract.
“Listen, that man shot a free throw…look it up,” Martin said. “And the face he made? I’ve never shot a ball and made that face. I’ve been playing basketball for a long time.
“I’ll play him for his contract. Play him for his contract. Right now, off the couch. … [Stephen Jackson and I] look at people’s skills, and we feel we should still be playing, and we can play. Just [give us] the opportunity. And you give a guy like that that kind of money for nothing?”
There is no disputing Noah had a terrible season. In the first year of his big four-year deal, he averaged just five points and 8.7 rebounds per game, and his season ended with a suspension and multiple injuries. Jackson and the Knicks will not be living down that contract for a long, long time.
The hits keep on coming for Joakim Noah.
Not only is Noah out serving a 20-game suspension for a violation of the league’s drug policy, but now he is looking at shoulder surgery that will likely require 4-6 months of recovery.
The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports the news on Noah:
Knicks center Joakim Noah needs surgery for a torn left rotator cuff, league sources tell @TheVertical. Four to six months of rehab coming.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojVerticalNBA) April 12, 2017
Noah is finishing the first season of a four-year, $72 million deal the Knicks gave him last offseason. He averaged just five points and 8.8 rebounds per game this season. He also missed time after having his knee scoped.
Noah still has 12 games to serve next season as part of his suspension.
A bad season just got worse for New York Knicks big man Joakim Noah.
Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical reports on Friday that Noah has been suspended for 20 games due to a violation of the NBA’s anti-drug policy. The former Defensive Player of the Year is said to have tested positive for a banned over-the-counter supplement.
Noah, 32, was averaging 5.0 points, 8.7 rebounds, and 2.2 assists per game this season, the first of a four-year, $72.5 million deal he signed with the Knicks over the summer. He hasn’t played since February 4 due to various injuries and an arthroscopic left knee surgery he underwent on February 27 was expected to end his season.
But Wojnarowski adds that Noah recently began running and conditioning again and is expected to serve 10 games of the suspension to finish out this season (the Knicks have exactly 10 remaining) and 10 games to start the 2017-18 season. That’s news that won’t bode well for Noah’s chances of keeping his starting spot next year, something he already seemed to be losing his grip on.
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.
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New York Knicks center Joakim Noah is reportedly shutting it down for the season.
Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical reports that Noah will undergo knee surgery and miss the rest of the year.
Knicks' center Joakim Noah is likely to undergo arthroscopic knee surgery and miss rest of season, league sources tell @TheVertical.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojVerticalNBA) February 27, 2017
Noah has not played since Feb. 4 and has been battling hamstring, shoulder and ankle injuries practically all season in addition to the knee issue. With the Knicks all but eliminated from the playoffs, there is no sense in him continuing to play and risk suffering setbacks.
Noah signed a four-year, $72.5 million deal with the Knicks last offseason, and it’s unclear what the team will do with him this summer. Phil Jackson already started making moves this week when he released one veteran player, so his offseason plans are a mystery.