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Joakim Noah will sign a 4-year, $72 million deal with the Knicks

Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

As reported at the beginning of free agency, so it will be:

Noah's deal is the longest on the team and extends through his 35th year on Earth. That's a lot of years, and even under this salary cap, a big chunk. I'm curious what negotiations were like, because we never heard of Noah fielding offers from or even taking meetings with any other team. Were things like a shorter contract or a partial guarantee/team option even proposed? You'd think the Knicks would want a little insurance against the possibility of, say, a 34-year-old who can't play much basketball anymore taking up like 15% of the cap, but do you, Phil.

Here's rough cap stuff looking forward:

More stuff:

- We're going to love Joakim Noah no matter what. I feel sure of that. Recent trends invite a strong possibility that Noah plays nothing like his All-Star self -- slower on the floor, weaker around the rim. Hopefully a repaired shoulder and the ability to lift his arm above his head will buoy Noah's sagging percentages, but his performance* was flagging even before that acute dip. That's a worry for another time. What one can guarantee is: The lungs are still strong, and I see nothing wrong with a player with such intelligence, experience, and vigor shadowing Kristaps Porzingis throughout the 21st year of his life. And I feel certain that all the shrieking and hair-adjusting that made him such a slimy presence in Chicago will endear him completely to this fanbase.

- *Individual performance. It seems to me like your side of the is-Noah-at-all-good-anymore argument has to do with whether you're looking at how much Noah's production flagged the last two years (significantly!) or how much his presence helped the Bulls during that time (somesometimes!). Again, Noah wasn't himself -- visibly, statistically -- even before the shoulder stuff. He managed not to torpedo lineups in spite of that. I don't know how that translates to New York.

- So, it feels like the Knicks are going to play small-big again. "Small" in the sense that their power forward can and will shoot, big in the sense that he's like 3 inches taller than the "center," who's also quite versatile at his best. If Jeff Hornacek is a good coach for the Knicks, he will make that incongruity with most other teams an advantage. He'll also learn when and where to deploy a truly small lineup with Kristaps as the only "big." That will depend some on depth. Kyle O'Quinn's still on the team. Willy Hernangomez should be as well. And more, I assume.

- Robin Lopez will make $13-$14 million each of the next 3 seasons. I promise that's the last time I'll dwell on that, but it's a factor here. The Knicks had a bird in hand.

- Melo's gotta be happy, right? He seemed to think hard about joining the Bulls a couple years ago, and now major parts of the Bulls have come to him. And he's got a new coach who isn't Kurt Rambis and a lovely Kristaps by his side.

The Knicks still have some money to spend on free agents. Presumably a wing to begin with, and perhaps someone like Courtney Lee or Eric Gordon.

Welcome to the Knicks, Joakim. Stay healthy, stay sweet. Onward!