Knicks C Joakim Noah understands his mistakes and is ready to have a bounce back season in 2017, per The Post's Marc Berman.
Noah's first season with the Knicks was not how he wanted it to go. Between poor play, knee surgery, and a 20-game suspension for a banned substance, he feels he let the team -- especially former team president Phil Jackson -- down.
"It's tough, man, because I got a lot of love and respect for Phil," Noah said on the "Truth Barrel" podcast. "He gave me an opportunity to play back home. Somebody I read all his books as a kid. I was just a big fan and still am. I have a lot of respect for him. It didn't work out. That sucks. It's something I have to live with. He believed in me, and I kind of let him down. That's frustrating. He got a lot of blame that it was his fault. But we didn't lose all those games because of Phil Jackson."
Noah blames himself partly for the firing of Jackson because he didn't live up to his four-year, $72 million contract that he signed last offseason. It was certainly a year to forget, but he is looking at it as one big lesson.
"I wouldn't trade it for s-t," Noah said. "I know a lot of people are mad about it, but I'm not. I don't feel sorry for myself. Everything that happened were my decisions. I'm a grown-ass man. I'm playing in New York City. It sucked because I didn't play well. I get to bounce back and come back next year. ... I'm not going to quit."
Noah is hoping his bounce-back year isn't filled with injuries as it was last season. He only saw time in 46 games, and he received surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff in April after getting suspended.
With the Knicks being a young team, Noah wants to be a role model and he hasn't done a good job of that in his eyes.
"We have some really good young players coming up at my position," Noah said. "I've got to see the NBA at its highest level. I don't like that some of these guys have only seen bulls-t. It's important for these young guys to have good vets. I want to be that for the younger guys. They have to see the right way."
The 20-game suspension, which Noah received for testing positive for Androgen, was a big regret because Noah says it tainted his reputation.
"I thought I could take something that could help me that wasn't on the banned list," Noah said, "and it was contaminated with some s-t that was banned. It was really, really rough. It was over the counter. I usually go through the team doctors, and I kind of went and did it my way and it affected a lot of people, a lot of loved ones and my family. It was more than me and my reputation. It sucked to see how many people it hurt. That's something I have to live with the rest of my career."
Now, that he understands his mistakes, Noah is ready to make a comeback and make his hometown fans proud he is a New York Knick.
"I went through a lot of adversity," he said. "You go through injuries. I lost my confidence this year. It's about bouncing back and showing who I am through these tough times. It can really show what you're made of."
Noah averaged five points, 8.8 rebounds and shot 49 percent from the field in his first year with the Knicks last season. He served eight games of his suspension, and will have to serve 12 more this season. He is set to be eligble to play against the Cavs on November 13.
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It's nice to see Joakim Noah speak up and even take some blame for the 2016-2017 nightmare Knicks season. Some guys won't do it, and the veteran did here, even if it was a little late. The issue is though it doesn't change much at all regarding what happened and regarding his future. We all know signing Noah to a four-year, $72 million was nuts and the Knicks will be stuck with that contract until 2020. Nobody wants to take on that deal at all.
Noah can say he wants to and he will bounce back all he wants, but he's already starting the 2017-2018 campaign on the shelf as he has to serve 12 more games of his suspension. That already cuts his maximum games down to 70. He's also coming off a surgery in April for a torn rotator cuff. It would be a pretty safe bet to say Noah may not even play 50 games this season for the Knicks. He hasn't played a full season in the last two years combined. At this rate, there's a chance he earns about $1 million every two-three games this season.
It's good to have a leader in Noah. The Knicks definitely need someone vocal like him. The issue is he's 32, can't stay healthy, shot 43 percent from the free-throw line last season, and he's already missing 12 games to open the year. The Knicks will be stuck with that contract and probably regret every second of it.