Knicks Rumors: Coach Jeff Hornacek First Shoved Joakim Noah During Altercation

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistFebruary 18, 2018

New York Knicks head coach Jeff Hornacek and center Joakim Noah watch the game action during the first half of an NBA basketball game Houston Rockets, Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2016, at Madison Square Garden in New York. The Rockets won 118-99. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
Mary Altaffer/Associated Press

New York Knicks big man Joakim Noah last appeared in a regular-season game Jan. 23, and Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News reported Saturday head coach Jeff Hornacek started a physical confrontation with the University of Florida product Jan. 24.

According to Bondy, Noah was "banished" from the team after last month's altercation, which Hornacek started by shoving Noah. No punches were thrown.

"The disagreement stemmed from Noah's lack of playing time, and it turned physical the day after he logged only five minutes against the Warriors," Bondy wrote.

The Knicks signed Noah to a four-year, $72.6 million deal in July 2016, and he averaged 5.0 points, 8.8 rebounds and 0.8 blocks a night in 46 games last season. He has appeared in just seven contests this season, posting 1.7 points, 2.0 rebounds and 0.3 blocks a night.

That production is a far cry from what he did in his prime with the Chicago Bulls. Noah was a two-time All-Star and three-time All-Defensive selection during his nine seasons in the Windy City. He also was named the Defensive Player of the Year and landed on the All-NBA first team in 2013-14.

In light of Noah's poor play and the reported altercation, which took place during practice, Bondy noted the Knicks attempted to trade Noah but that "his enormous contract is too prohibitive." He also wrote the team doesn't want to buy out Noah's contract.

"If he's saying he can play, he can play," Minnesota Timberwolves All-Star Jimmy Butler said of his former Bulls teammate, per Bondy. "He's got it in him. I know he's working right now to get back out there and help. With whatever team."

The Timberwolves are led by former Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau, who coached Noah for five seasons, and also have Taj Gibson, another of Noah's former Bulls teammates, in the frontcourt. Bondy pointed out Minnesota would "likely" be interested if the Knicks were to part ways with Noah.

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