Quickie: Joakim Noah, The Knicks + Cap Space In 2017

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The Knicks and Joakim Noah have been inextricably linked since the deal bringing Derrick Rose to the Garden. The two are notorious not only for being Chicago stalwarts, for being incredibly close friends on and off the court. Noah has also always had a penchant for the New York City lifestyle as well, growing up in the Mecca as a child. That hype has culminated the last few days with the Knickerbockers being unanimously viewed by rivals and insiders as the clear frontrunners to ink the center.

Reportedly, the Knicks will offer Noah an AAV of $18 million when free agency kicks off at midnight.

At first blush, this seems like a sunk cost for the Knicks. But, the truth is this will be the standard going rate moving forward in 2017 free agency due to the massive cap spike. Consider this:

$18 million of a cap set at $94 million for next season = 19% of the cap in 2017

19% of the cap in 2016 = $13.4 million

Robin Lopez’s contract = $13.5 million AAV

Essentially, from a value perspective, the Knicks could be switching out Robin Lopez for Noah on the same annual value percentage wise, if reports of the offer are true. Sure, RoLo would’ve been a nice replacement level salary to have on the books next season. But having Noah at the same percentage in 2017 could be a worthwhile investment. The money getting thrown around is just something everyone is going to have to adjust to, things done changed…

IMHO, this is a worthwhile investment, depending on the years offered of course. At his best, Noah was the last player to rank in the top 3 in MVP voting in the Eastern Conference sans Lebron James. He’s also the last player in the NBA to win the Defensive Player of the Year award since Kawhi Leonard took the helm. RoLo’s best comes nowhere near that. And even after years of Thibodeau tread on his tires, I’m willing to venture that non-peak Noah will offer more than RoLo could from a tenacity, intangibles, leadership and communication standpoint.

But, as always, this deal will come down to the years of the contract:

Ideal: a 1+1 deal would be golden. Give Noah his money for the season, and the opportunity for a fresh start with a familiar friend in NYC. If he performs he can cash in again next season with another cap spike coming in 2017. He would also have the protection to opt-in for 1 more season if disaster strikes.

OK: a 2 year guaranteed deal allowing short term security for both Noah and the Knicks.

BAD: basically anything over 3+ years guaranteed would scare the fuck out of me… having a center that’s been injury prone in recent years on the cap guaranteed long term could en up being a disaster.

Let’s all hope Phil Jackson can swing his wizard peyote wand and get us option 1…

CLASSIC STYLE

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