Thunder, T-Wolves Rumored to Express Interest in Joakim Noah If Waived by Knicks

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistFebruary 8, 2018

New York Knicks center Joakim Noah (13), making his season debut after a suspension for performance enhancing drugs, goes up against Portland Trail Blazers forward Ed Davis (17) during the first half of an NBA basketball game in New York, Monday, Nov. 27, 2017. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
Kathy Willens/Associated Press

The Oklahoma City Thunder and Minnesota Timberwolves are reportedly among the teams expected to show interest in New York Knicks center Joakim Noah if he's bought out by the organization following Thursday's NBA trade deadline at 3 p.m. ET.

Ian Begley of ESPN.com noted the situation is fluid, however, with the Knicks seeking a potential trade partner and Noah "opposed to a buyout" as of earlier in the week.

New York announced last week the veteran post player wouldn't be with the team for an indefinite period as part of a mutual decision.

On Saturday, Frank Isola of the New York Daily News reported Noah likely won't return to the Knicks' active roster for as long as Jeff Hornacek remains the head coach. The pair exchanged "heated words" during a practice last week in Denver.

The 32-year-old New York City native has only appeared in seven games during the 2017-18 season. He's averaged 1.7 points and 2.0 rebounds, a far cry from his days as a double-double machine with the Chicago Bulls.

A buyout would be tricky, though. Noah is under contract for two more years beyond this season with a base salary that rises from $17.8 million this year to $19.3 million in 2019-20, per Spotrac. It's unclear how much of that money he'd be willing to sacrifice to get a fresh start elsewhere.

That contract makes it unlikely the Knicks will be able to find a trade partner before the deadline. So it could set up a showdown between the front office, which clearly wants to move forward, and Noah.

If he does eventually take a buyout, joining either OKC or the T-Wolves would lead to more consistent playing time as those playoff contenders seek more frontcourt depth.

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