From the sound of things today, the New York Knicks and Joakim Noah won't be around each other anytime soon.
Earlier this month, Noah and the Knicks mutually agreed on Noah's indefinite leave from the team. He has not been with or around the team since Jan. 25 and coach Jeff Hornacek said after practice today that Noah will continue to stay away from the Knicks. Noah's name circulated in trade talks in the weeks leading up to the Feb. 8 deadline, but attempts at deals were unsuccessful.
According to ESPN.com's Ian Begley, the Knicks do not intend to waive Noah and as of late last week, the center was open to contract buyout discussions. Daniel Popper of the New York Daily News has more on Hornacek's comments today and what may lie ahead for Noah:
"We've handled that thing with Jo," Hornacek said Tuesday night, as the Knicks returned to practice after the All-Star break. "It's not finalized obviously because he's still on the roster. But we dealt with that situation, and there's really nothing more to say about it or update it. We've moved on. I think he's ready to move on and maybe have an opportunity somewhere else. …That's kind of an old story and all done with, as far as I'm concerned."
When asked if the plan is for Noah to remain banished, Hornacek said, "I think that is the plan."
He backtracked when a reporter tried to clarify if that meant for the rest of the season. The Knicks have 23 games remaining.
"(Team president) Steve (Mills) and (general manager) Scott (Petty) will have to handle that," Hornacek said. "But that's where we're at now with our team, with our young guys, and they're going to be on the ones playing."
ESPN.com also reports the National Basketball Players Association is "closely monitoring" the Noah-Knicks situation to ensure he is "treated fairly under the rules of our collective bargaining agreement."
Noah signed with the Knicks in the summer of 2016 hoping that he could make an impact on New York's defense and front line. Since signing with New York, though, Noah has played in 53 games (starting 46 of them) and has lost time to various injuries. He had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee last February and shoulder surgery last April.
In March of 2017, he was suspended 20 games by the NBA for violating the league's anti-drug policy. That suspension cost him the first 12 games of the 2017-18 season. Last season, Noah averaged five points and 8.8 rebounds per game in 26 minutes per game. This season, his averages are 1.7 ppg, 2 rpg in 5.7 mpg.