The forces pulling together Joakim Noah and the New York Knicks seem irresistible at this point.The online rumor pressure continued to build and build and build underneath Source Mountain until it finally erupted in the waning moments of Wednesday night:
Have heard the same lament from multiple interested teams tonight: They see New York as a big favorite to land Joakim Noah in free agency.— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) June 30, 2016
The phrasing tends to be the same from every team we ask with Joakim Noah interest: We don't have a chance because the Knicks are his choice— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) June 30, 2016
Sources: Joakim Noah has set meeting with Knicks president Phil Jackson after midnight July 1. Significant traction on both sides.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) June 30, 2016
This begs the question: Are the Knicks his choice for basketball reasons, or simply because they intend to offer him the most money? If The Washington Post's Tim Bontemps is correct, New York isn't messing around on the financial front.
Sources: Joakim Noah is expected to reunite with Derrick Rose & return to NYC on a deal starting around $18 million. https://t.co/0W3KSrlPcl— Tim Bontemps (@TimBontemps) June 30, 2016
Starting around $18 million? You mean it could go up? That may very well happen, especially if the front office gets panicky after Noah does this:
Even with the obvious traction of Joakim Noah to the Knicks, I'm told he still plans on meeting with three teams, the Knicks 1st among them.— Sam Amick (@sam_amick) June 30, 2016
Quick clarification: Noah expected to consider/communicate w/ three teams, but the Knicks meeting is the only one scheduled at this point.— Sam Amick (@sam_amick) June 30, 2016
OK, so it seems clear the Knicks are going to pay a great deal of money to a tremendous defensive player who missed all but 29 games last season and shot 38.3% from the field (as a center!). The real question now is for how many years? This may remain a mystery for a while longer. Please, Phil, let's keep it at two years ... with no player option! Team option, cool; player option, bad!
One thing is certain: Kristaps Porzingis is going to have himself a hell of a mentor as he continues to learn the center position.