With the NBA schedule set to resume on Thursday, Joakim Noah hasn’t rejoined the Knicks, and head coach Jeff Hornacek indicates there are no plans for the veteran center to return to the team anytime soon. Asked whether Noah will remain away from the club, Hornacek replied, “I think that is the plan,” Newsday’s Al Iannazzone writes.
“We’ve moved on,” Hornacek said on Tuesday, per Ian Begley of ESPN. “He’s ready to move on and maybe have an opportunity somewhere else.”
Hornacek and Noah were reportedly involved in an altercation during a January practice, which resulted in the team and the player mutually agreeing that Noah would take an indefinite leave of absence. If Noah is to return to the Knicks before the end of the season, that decision would come from president Steve Mills and GM Scott Perry, says Hornacek.
Despite having “moved on” from Noah, the Knicks have shown no desire to waive him outright, sources tell Begley. As of last week, the veteran had also shown no inclination to negotiate a buyout with the club, which isn’t surprising, given all the money he’s still owed. Noah has guaranteed salaries of $18.53MM in 2018/19 and $19.295MM in 2019/20.
After exploring trades before this month’s deadline, the Knicks could once again test the trade market for Noah this summer. Even with his contract one year closer to expiring though, he’ll be extremely difficult to move. New York would likely have to attach a first-round pick to get a team to take it on, an idea the front office has been unwilling to entertain.
As for whether or not the practice incident between Noah and Hornacek would stand in the way of the big man reporting back to the Knicks at some point, the head coach insists it wouldn’t be an issue.
“Things happen in practice, happen in meetings, happen in all kind of stuff,” Hornacek said. “We’ve dealt with that and that’s the end of it from us.”