The addition of Enes Kanter in Saturday’s Carmelo Anthony trade makes center Joakim Noah a stronger candidate for the stretch provision, writes Marc Berman of The New York Post. The Knicks signed Noah to a four-year, $72MM free agent deal last summer, and he is owed $55MM over the next three seasons. Kanter will make $20.5MM+ this season and has a player option worth more than $18.6MM for 2018/19, so that’s a lot to pay two centers when Willy Hernangomez and Kyle O’Quinn are also on the roster.
Noah had a nightmarish first season in New York marked by disappointing performance, shoulder surgery and a drug suspension that will carry through the first 11 games of this year. Knicks management may want to get him off the roster, but the deadline to stretch this season’s salary passed on August 31, so the team is stuck with his $17.765MM and the accompanying cap hit. It could use the stretch provision on the $37.825MM Noah is owed over the final two years of his contract, paying $7.565MM a year over the next five seasons.
There’s more from New York this morning:
- The Knicks view Frank Ntilikina as their point guard of the future, but veterans Ramon Sessions and Jarrett Jack will probably compete to be the opening-night starter, Berman adds in the same piece. A bruised knee forced the rookie to miss summer league, and the Knicks want to let him grow into the job, which GM Scott Perry believes is as difficult as being an NFL quarterback. Ron Baker, who re-signed this offseason, will spend more time at shooting guard.
- Anthony was popular in the locker room, but was never seen by his teammates as a leader, Berman writes in a separate piece. Two of his former coaches, Mike D’Antoni and George Karl, thought he valued individual achievements and his personal agenda more than winning. Berman also wonders how much of Anthony’s prime is still left at age 33.
- The Knicks hope Doug McDermott, who was also acquired in the Anthony deal, will give them a three-point threat who can handle both forward positions, Berman adds. One scout calls him a taller version of Kyle Korver.
- If Kanter opts in for next season and McDermott isn’t re-signed, the Knicks will have saved about $8MM by trading Anthony, according to ESPN’s Ian Begley.