Joakim Noah’s exile from the New York Knicks continues, as the veteran big man won’t be returning to the team anytime soon—if at all.
The New York Knicks and Joakim Noah agreed to an indefinite leave of absence for the veteran center on Friday, sources tell ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
According to the report, Noah won’t be welcomed back to the Knicks until the front office has exhausted any and all trade possibilities between now and the NBA’s Feb. 8 trade deadline. It is unknown what Noah’s status will be if a trade can’t be worked out before the deadline arrives.
Last week Noah left the team in Denver for “personal reasons” and has reportedly been feuding with head coach Jeff Hornacek. While the Knicks want to get rid of Noah, Hornacek hasn’t ruled out that the center will rejoin the team.
“At this point, these are the guys here,’’ Hornacek told Marc Berman of the New York Post. “We have to move on with the guys now. We’ll see what happens going forward. (Noah) works hard but it ultimately goes to the point of our team and where we’re at, what stage we’re at. He’s not with us right now. When that time comes, we’ll have to figure it out.’’
The Knicks could try to buy out the center’s contract or waive him. If they waive him they would owe him $7.5 million over five seasons instead of $18.5 million for next season and $19.3 million in the final year of his contract, according to Ian Begley of ESPN. It would make sense for the Knicks to waive Noah if they can’t get a trade done.
Noah has averaged 1.7 points, 2.0 rebounds, and 5.7 minutes in seven games this season. While it seems certain that his tenure with the Knicks is over, the big question is where will he wind up?