Clippers Waive Joakim Noah; Retirement Likely

10:09 pm: The Clippers have officially announced in a press release that they’ve waived Noah.

8:35 pm: As was expected following news of Reggie Jackson‘s return earlier today, the Clippers will waive backup center Joakim Noah, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reports.

In a less expected development, Noah’s agent at BDA Sports, Bill Duffy, told Wojnarowski that the 6’11” center will likely retire rather than seek a basketball home elsewhere for 2020/21. Though the 35-year-old big man struggled during his lone Los Angeles season, he had a productive run as an energizing reserve with the Grizzlies the year prior.

“What an illustrious career for Joakim,” Duffy reflected. “It’s been my honor to represent Joakim through his journey.” 

Noah won two NCAA championships with the Florida Gators in 2006 and 2007, alongside future NBA pros Al Horford, Corey Brewer, Marreesse Speights, Chris Richard, and Taurean Green. Those legendary Florida squads were coached by new Bulls head coach Billy Donovan.

After being drafted by the Bulls with the ninth pick in the 2007 draft, Noah went on to make two All-Star teams and help lead a culture change in Chicago, transforming the team into an energetic, defensive-first behemoth.

Noah’s crowning individual accolade in the NBA was being named Defensive Player of the Year for the 2013/14 season. He also made the All-NBA First Team that season and finished with the fourth-most MVP votes that year (ahead of James Harden). During that standout season, Noah averaged 12.6 PPG, 11.3 RPG, 5.4 APG, 1.5 BPG, and 1.2 SPG across 80 games.

Overall, Noah was a three-time All-Defensive Team inclusion. Noah’s defensive moxie, stellar rebounding, terrific passing, and unique style and free throw form made him a local favorite during his Bulls tenure.

Noah signed a lucrative four-year, $72MM deal with his hometown Knicks during the free agency boom of 2016. The union was ultimately cut short ahead of the 2018/19 season, when New York opted to waive and stretch the rest of Noah’s deal. The club will be paying him $6.4MM during both the 2020/21 and 2021/22 seasons, as Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News tweets.

The Bulls will likely consider honoring the unique big man in much the same way they paid tribute to his long-time teammate, former All-Star Bulls forward Luol Deng. Chicago inked a one-day contract with Deng in October 2019 so that he could officially retire as a Bull. Noah has certainly earned a similarly hallowed place in the hearts of Bulls fans to merit such a tribute.

Bobby Marks of ESPN tweets that this latest move means that the Clippers now have 13 guaranteed deals on their books, and currently find themselves a crucial $2.2MM below the league’s restrictive hard cap.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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