Joakim Noah, the former Defensive Player of the Year, is leaning towards joining the New York Knicks in free agency, according to several sources.
According to ESPN’s Marc SteinIan Begley, “multiple teams interested in Noah have all but conceded already that the Knicks are his runaway preferred destination in free agency.”
Joakim Noah returning home to NY?
Noah, a native New Yorker, is really good friends with former Chicago Bulls teammate Derrick Rose, who was recently traded to New York. Therefore, the Noah to New York rumors began the minute Rose was traded to the Big Apple a few weeks back.
Free agency begins on 12:01 a.m. on July 1 but the Knicks can’t finalize a deal until July 7. Noah and Knicks president Phil Jackson are reportedly scheduled to sit down for a meeting on Friday.
The Knicks are desperate for a quality center and defensive anchor after trading away Robin Lopez to Chicago as part of the Rose deal. A front court pairing of Noah and Kristaps Porzingis should be exciting to say the least.
Noah, 31, missed 63 games last season due to two shoulder injuries which culminated with a season-ending shoulder surgery in January. However, several reports indicate that Noah is cleared for complete basketball activities and should take the court for the start of the new season.
Back healthy after surgery…
“I’m very focused on free-agency. I spent the last 10 years in Chicago, there were good moments and bad moments but now I have an incredible opportunity for a player, being recruited by a team, I definitely want to live that kind of experience. It’s new for me but it’s something very intriguing for a player,” Noah told Sportando in an interview earlier this month.
New York will have approximately $32 million to spend in free agency. Joakim Noah is expected to agree to a contract starting at $18 million, giving the Knicks flexibility to pursue the likes of Courtney Lee, Eric Gordon and Kent Bazemore to start at shooting guard.