Joakim Noah’s disappointing New York Knicks career is over after just two seasons. Unable to find a trade, the Knicks waived the 33-year-old center Saturday with two years and $37.8 million remaining on his contract.
Noah had been away from the team since clashing with former coach Jeff Hornacek last season, when he appeared in just seven games. The Knicks had already decided he wouldn’t rejoin the club under new coach David Fizdale but were hoping they could find a long trade to get something back for him without having to cut him.
The New York native signed with his hometown team in 2016 and drew a loud ovation in his first appearance at Madison Square Garden, where he was introduced as being from the Hell’s Kitchen section of the city, rather than from Florida, the team he helped win two NCAA championships.
The Chicago Bulls selected him with the ninth overall pick in the 2007 draft. He had great years with the Bulls, highlighted by being voted defensive player of the pear and All-NBA first team in 2014.
But Noah had begun battling injuries and already was in decline by the time former Knicks president Phil Jackson gave him a $72-million, four-year contract, and Noah could never regain his old form. His first season in New York ended early when he was suspended 20 games by the NBA in March 2017 for a failed drug test, a suspension that carried into the 2017-18 season.
He was unable to regain his rotation spot once he was eligible to return and didn’t play again following his argument with Hornacek after playing 4 1/2 minutes in a loss at Golden State on Jan. 23.
Noah finished with an average of 4.6 points and 7.9 rebounds with New York. His $18.6-million salary for this season will count fully against the salary cap and the Knicks can stretch out the remainder of his salary over multiple seasons.
The Knicks also waived Kadeem Allen and Jeff Coby, getting their roster down to 17 players. Rosters have to be set by 2 p.m. PDT on Monday at a maximum of 15 players.
The New Orleans Pelicans have waived guard Jarrett Jack and forward Garlon Green. Jack signed with New Orleans a week before training camp and averaged 3.3 points and two assists in three preseason games. Jack has played 13 years in the NBA, including two stints with New Orleans. Jack has averaged nearly 11 points per game throughout a career that has included stints in Portland, Indiana, Toronto, Golden State, Cleveland, Brooklyn and New York. The Pelicans open the regular season Wednesday night in Houston. …
The Atlanta Hawks have waived forward Thomas Robinson and guards R.J. Hunter and C.J. Anderson. Robinson and Hunter were former first-round picks who signed with the Hawks in an effort to jump-start their struggling pro careers. Hunter played collegiately in Atlanta and is the son of Georgia State coach Ron Hunter. The Hawks open the season next Wednesday at New York.