Ever since they traded away their starting center in return for a point guard in Derrick Rose, the Knicks have been on the search for a new center to hold down the lane. Two names that have been linked to the Knicks during the free agency period are Dwight Howard and Joakim Noah. According to reports, the Knicks have significant interest in Noah.
He may even be at the top of their wish list. Via Marc Berman:
The Knicks are desperate for a starting center — their top target is Joakim Noah — and a starting shooting guard after the Derrick Rose blockbuster. They are also desperate to fill out a 15-man roster within the confines of the salary cap. They have just five players under contract.
This past week, Derrick Rose mentioned in his first press conference with the Knicks that he is adamant about bringing Noah along with him for this season. “I want him,” he said. “He knows that. His family knows that.” With Rose being the starting point guard, New York would be dumb not to entertain the idea of bringing Noah in.
But is signing him really a smart option?
Noah is on the decline. He has had a significant drop in production over the past two seasons. In 2013-2014 he was averaging 12 points and 11 rebounds per game, but over the past two seasons he has only played a combined 91 games and is averaging 4.7 points and 9.2 rebounds per game. Noah could be asking for somewhere around $20-25 million per year with the new salary cap, and I am just not sure if he is worth that kind of money. With his injury history, especially after last season, it is a big risk for the Knicks to lock up that kind of money in a position that could be lacking.
With Rose on a rental year, there is no guarantee he will be back after this upcoming year, so why bring in a guy he wants, especially if you may lose Rose after this year? Injuries never really play in a team’s favor so you have to assume the worst can happen when you sign an aging player for this kind of money.
Signing Noah to a contract like this could be risky, but you have to assume Noah would not be going straight for the highest offer. The Knicks have $30 million left in cap space so they will not be quick to offer Noah a high amount of money. For Noah, a chance to make the playoffs and getting significant playing time might be all he needs to get his career back on track.