There are a number of teams interested in Joakim Noah, who won’t be returning to the Chicago Bulls. For a number of reasons, it seems the former defensive player of the year is going to choose the New York Knicks as his next team.
Noah is reportedly going to re-join Derrick Rose, earlier this month traded from Chicago to the Knicks for a number of players, including center Robin Lopez. He’s not going to play the 1+1 game due to his injuries over the last two seasons, and is likely going to make $18 million a season. Low or high? Consider this: If Noah had a injury-free season and had remained a lineup player for the Bulls, he’d probably be looking, and getting, the max offer for four or five seasons.
Noah played in just 29 games (starting only 2) for the Bulls last season, averaging 4.3 points and 8.8 rebounds per game, with his minutes falling from 30.6 (after being at 35.3 in 2013-2014) to just 21.3 under Fred Hoiberg, who prefered teaming up other players next to Pau Gasol in the starting lineup. Noah initially seemed happy about playing next to Taj Gibson in the second lineup, but when he saw his minutes falling and no lineup adjustments, he and Hoiberg stopped getting along, and he pretty much made up his mind he’d be going elsewhere.
The Knicks, even with Lopez on the team, have been looking to improve their defense. They have a pretty good rim protector in Kristaps Porzingis, but Noah does a lot more than just stand in the paint and deflect penetration. He’s excellent on the pick and roll, and when healthy (if he’s healthy again), is one of the most influential defensive players on the league, and a very good passer for a center, although his offense seems to have taken a serious hit over the last two years, as if someone sapped his ability out of him.
Noah could form a very interesting lineup and frontcourt next to Carmelo Anthony and Porzingis, but it’ll be interesting to see how he’s used by new head coach Jeff Hornacek. Noah doesn’t have range, and sometimes doesn’t get to touch the ball at all on offense. If Hornacek doesn’t find a way to use him efficiently on offense, his time on the floor could be limited once again, making the $18 million salary something of a waste.