Joakim Noah and the Knicks are in an awkward standoff over the $54 million left on his contract

  • Joakim Noah has been away from the New York Knicks since January after he got into a heated exchange with head coach Jeff Hornacek.
  • The two sides are in a standoff over how to end the remaining $US54 million on his contract.
  • Noah is reportedly unwilling to accept a buyout and the Knicks don’t want to waive Noah.

Joakim Noah and the New York Knicks are in an awkward standoff that doesn’t show any signs of ending soon.

Noah has not been with the team since late January after getting into a heated exchange with head coach Jeff Hornacek. The team initially said he would be away from the team for “personal reasons” but it was later revealed that it was over the dispute.

Nearly a month later, Noah is still not with the team, and Hornacek told reporters on Tuesday that the two sides have “moved on.”

“We’ve moved on,” Hornacek said. “He’s ready to move on and maybe have an opportunity somewhere else.”

The problem for both sides is figuring out what happens next.According to ESPN’s Ian Begley, the Knicks tried to trade Noah at the deadline, but could not find a team to take his the remaining $US54 million on his contract. According to Begley, Noah has not been willing to discuss a buyout, and the Knicks do not want to waive him.

When the Knicks signed Noah to a four-year, $US72 million deal in free agency, many in the NBA world suspected that it might be an overpay. Less than two years later, it’s become a mess – Noah has played only 53 games with the Knicks and has struggled when on the court. At 33, with an ugly injury history and little recent production, it’s unlikely he could make anywhere close to his current contract if he were to hit the open market, hence why he may not want to accept a buyout.

The Knicks could use the “stretch” provision on Noah, in which they would take the remaining money on his contract and stretch it out over five years. However, that may not be appealing to the team, as he’d carry a $US7.5 million cap hit through 2022 and would cut into future cap space.

The Knicks could also find themselves having to do damage control as a result of the standoff. The Knicks were reportedly considered a “last resort” for free agents last summer as a result of inner turmoil during Phil Jackson’s tenure. Though the team has begun a modest rebuild this season, the optics of signing a player to a $US72 million contract, keeping him away from the team, and trying to get out of the contract, may not be great to other players.

It’s unclear what’s next for both sides, but someone will have to budge or else the standoff will remain – something that can’t be appealing for anyone.

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