Report: Joakim Noah Recruited by New Zealand Basketball Team; Weighing Options

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorJuly 13, 2019

MEMPHIS, TN - MARCH 23:  Joakim Noah #55 of the Memphis Grizzlies shoots the ball against the Minnesota Timberwolves on March 23, 2019 at FedExForum in Memphis, Tennessee. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images)
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Free-agent center Joakim Noah is garnering interest from the Sky Sport Breakers, a team out of Auckland, New Zealand that plays in the National Basketball League. 

That's per Marc Stein of the New York Times, who wrote that Breakers owner Matt Walsh, Noah's teammate with the Florida Gators, is "leading the recruitment."

However, Stein also noted that Noah could very well be staying stateside.

"The reality for the Breakers is that Noah has received NBA interest this summer from teams in search of frontcourt depth and is said to be taking a very 'selective' approach about where he plays next season at 34 after making a successful comeback last season with Memphis," Stein wrote.

The 34-year-old Noah impressed in limited action for the Grizzlies last season, averaging 7.1 points and 5.7 rebounds in 16.5 minutes per game.

The two-time NCAA champion and two-time NBA All-Star hasn't averaged more than 22.1 minutes per game since the 2014-15 season, and he's only played 124 games over the past four years. However, Noah can still be productive off the bench if last year is any indication.

Last year, the 12-16 Breakers finished sixth in the eight-team NBL, which is the top basketball league in Australia and New Zealand. They could certainly use a player like Noah, and Walsh reportedly envisions the center as a "dream signing," per Stein.

As Stein mentioned, Noah wouldn't be the first notable big man to head to the NBL from the NBA, as Andrew Bogut played for the Sydney Kings before returning stateside for the Golden State Warriors.

Still, Noah's resurgence last year may give him a home somewhere in the NBA. He may not be the greatest fit for today's game considering he can't stretch the floor offensively, but the three-time All-NBA Defensive Team member still brings it on the other end. ESPN.com ranked him 16th in defensive real plus-minus among 70 qualified centers last year.


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