The New York Knicks’ front office have done an admirable job this summer adding young players to their roster. But the duo of Scott Perry and Steve Mills remain just as committed to ridding themselves of their oldest player, center Joakim Noah.
Per Ian Begley and Adrian Wojnarowski, the new David Fizdale coaching regime has done nothing to change the front office’s position vis-à-vis Noah—they want him gone, and are willing to use the stretch provision to do it.
Noah, 33, has two years and $37.8 million left on his contract, and waiting until September to stretch it allows the Knicks to spread the balance of his remaining contract into smaller cap hits over the next three years.
Using the stretch provision after Aug. 31 reduces Noah’s cap hit to $6.4 million, saving the team $12.9 million toward the salary cap. Stretching his contract after Sept. 1 costs the Knicks $6.4 million in cap space in the summers of 2020 and 2021.
So the Knicks would save $12.9 million next off-season and then take a $6.4-million cap hit the following two summers. That seems awfully shortsighted to me. The front office seems to be betting all their chips on opening up maximum cap space to lure a big-name free agent in 2019. This team, as currently constructed, is pretty damn far from one player away from contention. Is this a part of a bigger plan to dump more salary and add even more cap space for 2019?
Are Mills and Perry still looking at the big picture, or are they falling for the old Knicks trap of thinking “it you free space, they will come?” It’s still too early to tell. But waiving Noah could potentially to be an ugly capstone to a fine 2018 off-season.