Several playoff-bound teams are keeping an eye on Joakim Noah‘s situation in New York and would consider signing him if he reaches free agency, sources tell Frank Isola of The New York Daily News. According to Isola, the Warriors, Timberwolves, and Thunder are among the teams monitoring the Knicks center.
As Isola notes, the Wolves represent an obvious fit for Noah since the team already features several familiar faces for the veteran center, including Jimmy Butler, Taj Gibson, and head coach and president of basketball operations Tom Thibodeau. Golden State and Oklahoma City also believe that Noah’s experience and defensive ability would help shore up their respective benches, Isola adds.
If the Knicks do decide to release Noah, he’d want it to happen by March 1 so that he’d be eligible to play in the postseason for a new team. However, the two sides appear to be engaged in a stalemate, so there’s certainly no guarantee he’ll be available in the coming days.
As Ian Begley of ESPN details (via Twitter), both Noah and the Knicks would likely welcome a fresh start, but the team is reluctant to eat his entire contract by waiving him, and Noah has thus far been unwilling to give back much – if any – of the money left on his lucrative deal. Counting his remaining prorated salary this season, the big man is still owed approximately $42.5MM through 2019/20.
If they do get a chance to sign Noah, the Warriors would have to waive a player, since they currently have a full 15-man squad. The Timberwolves and Thunder each have an open roster spot.