Howard Beck -- a.k.a. The Guy Who Broke the Jeff Hornacek Hiring -- jumped all over this:
LRT: If Noah's leaving Bulls, expect Knicks to make a strong pitch. Phil Jackson and Noah have a rapport. And Noah has NY roots.— Howard Beck (@HowardBeck) May 25, 2016
Much depends, of course, on whether Noah still sees himself as a fulltime starter. Knicks have RoLopez, but Noah would be a great 3rd big.— Howard Beck (@HowardBeck) May 25, 2016
A Jackson-Noah rapport would be a pretty big deal, as we learned during the coverage of New York's coaching search that the Zen Master supposedly has relationships with no one and cares for no one. He doesn't even know you, but he hates your guts; he hopes all the bad things in life happen to you, and nobody else but you! I could certainly see Noah and Jackson getting along, however; they are odd in fairly similar ways.
Could Jackson convince Noah, a local boy, to take a bench role in New York? Would that even be a good idea ... to sign Noah or any other veteran big? The Knicks ran into a roster crunch last season by filling out the roster with too many big men who didn't really contribute: Kyle O'Quinn, Kevin Seraphin and Lou Amundson. O'Quinn still has a roster spot, and their plans for signing a reserve big rest heavily on their trust of a bounce-back year from him, as well as their plans for 2015 draft pick Willy Hernangomez.
If they do wind up testing the market for a more proven big, they could certainly do worse than Noah, a former All-Star and Defensive Player of the Year. He's fallen of a cliff in the past two years, and only played 29 games last season due to a shoulder injury, but he could contribute in limited minutes. He would make an exceptional mentor for Kristaps Porzingis, who would hopefully learn from Noah's court vision and his ability to anchor a defense despite a pronounced lack of bulk. Kristaps can still play minutes at the 5 in small-ball lineups, but he can ease into the role behind two cagey veterans in Noah and Robin Lopez.
That being said, there's very little chance of this happening. Even if Noah has given up his desire to start, he'd probably want to come off the bench for a better team. As for the Knicks, signing a reserve center should really be more of a luxury than a necessity given the current state of their roster. They will have anywhere from $33.4 to $10.5 million in cap space and a gaping void in the backcourt -- that seems like a great deal of room, but quality guards ain't gonna come cheap in this market.
Joakim Noah would bring a great deal to the table under the right set of circumstances, but he'll be able to command a contract and a role that probably wouldn't suit the Knicks in the long run. They should be on the lookout for a veteran center, but at a much lower price tag. But, hey, if Phil Jackson takes him on a spirit quest through the Canadian Rockies and they emerge a month later with a short-term deal at a reasonable cost, I could dig it.