The Knicks are on the hook for the remaining $37.8 million on Joakim Noah's contract, but GM Scott Perry said the team is in better shape after waiving the big man rather than dealing him.
For months Perry failed to find a trade partner to take the 33-year-old Noah, who would not agree to a buyout with a Knicks after signing a four-year, $72 million contract with the team in 2016. The Knicks are instead using the stretch provision to lessen his annual cap hit, paying him $6.4 million annually for the next three seasons, according to the New York Daily News.
And Perry said the trade market showed he made the right choice.
"That decision was made in the best interest of the Knicks, first and foremost,'' Perry said, per the New York Post. "Secondly, we spent a lot of time, a lot of months trying to find a deal that made sense and learned a lot about the market out there. That the market was expensive. What we've said all along was we were not going to trade first-round picks and young players in any type of transaction like that. We're comfortable with the decision we made. We wish Joakim the very best."
Noah played in just 52 games over two seasons, but his influence off the court didn't make up for his absence on it. He served a 20-game PED suspension to go along with two surgeries and plenty of drama with former head coach Jeff Hornacek. The pair had to be separated during a practice session in January, which led to Noah's exile from the team.
Perry said the current makeup of the team helped create a clear path for Noah's exit.
"We've got so many young players, we have a lot of young players at his position, we just didn't think it was the right fit for us right now,'' Perry said, per the Post. "That factored heavily into our decision."