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.
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.
Joakim Noah shot a free throw on Monday that caused everyone, including himself, to cringe.
During the first quarter of the game between the Knicks and Pacers, Noah went to the free throw line after drawing a foul on Myles Turner. Noah missed both shots, but it was the second attempt that had everyone talking. Take a look for yourself.
SCREAMING at this Joakim Noah airball FT and his reaction pic.twitter.com/8Tjpxcu10L
— CJ Fogler (@cjzero) January 24, 2017
Noah’s reaction is priceless, as he knew as soon as the ball left his hands the end result wasn’t going to be good, and it wasn’t.
Four seasons ago, Noah shot 75 percent from the free-throw line. Since then, he’s steadily decreased and came into Monday making just 43 percent from the line.
With the New York Knicks at 14-13, it would be unfair to say that their offseason moves have been failures. One, however, really isn’t working out well at all.
Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek admitted that Joakim Noah could lose his place in the starting lineup if things do not change soon, calling it “something we have to keep our eye on,” via Marc Berman of the New York Post.
Noah, who is averaging just 4.4 points in 21 minutes per game, is simply keeping his head down as he tries to get better.
“I feel great — I just got to keep working,” Noah said Saturday. “It’s going to work out.”
Noah played just 11 minutes on Saturday against Denver, and he has struggled to get into the flow of New York’s offense. His 30.6 percent free throw shooting hasn’t helped either, and he’s an obvious weak spot in that regard when on the floor.
Noah has been frustrated with his play for quite a while now. So, too, are the Knicks, in all likelihood. They didn’t pay $72 million for this.
The New York Knicks are off to an uninspiring 6-7 start to the season, and it’s causing at least one of their players to do some soul-searching.
In a recent interview with Ian Begley of ESPN, two-time All-Star big man Joakim Noah admitted that he’s been disappointed with his play so far.
“There’s still things I feel like I need to do a lot better,” Noah said. “I’m not happy with where I am right now. I feel like I can definitely play better, but I’m not going to get frustrated with the process. I’m giving everything I’ve got and looking forward to being better with this team, but not being frustrated with the process.
“I’m trying to figure it out. There’s no question. It’s been really up and down,” he continued. “I think that’s kind of like my role on this team. Some nights it’s going to be my night, sometimes it’s not, but at the end of the day I just have to be consistent with my effort and be consistent and try to bring something positive to this team.”
The 31-year-old Noah is averaging just 4.3 points, 8.9 rebounds, and 3.5 assists per game on 45.1 percent from the field and a horrific 31.6 percent from the line. While he’s managed to help the Knicks in other ways since signing with them this past summer, that kind of on-court production simply won’t cut it for a guy they gave $72 million to, and Noah knows it.
New York Knicks big man Joakim Noah is willing to give the Cavaliers props for winning the NBA title, but his thoughts on Cleveland still haven’t changed one bit.
The Knicks open the 2016-17 NBA season in Cleveland on Tuesday, a game in which the Cavs will receive their championship rings in a pregame ceremony. Before the contest, Noah took an opportunity to congratulate the Cavs and to throw some more shade at the city of Cleveland in the process, per Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News.
Famous Cleveland denigrator Joakim Noah on being there for ring night: "Congratulations to Cleveland, even though it's not a vacation spot."
— Stefan Bondy (@SBondyNYDN) October 25, 2016
Of course, Noah and the Rock and Roll Capital of the World have a lengthy history with one another. Back in 2010, the University of Florida product famously quipped that he’d never heard of anybody going to Cleveland on vacation. Noah’s jabs at Cleveland continued over the years, as did his blood feud with LeBron James.
In an age of such turmoil and uncertainty, it’s quite comforting to know that we can rely on one constant to serve as our guiding light through it all: Joakim Noah will always hate Cleveland.