LOS ANGELES It appears Joakim Noah and the Knicks will remain legally separated but with the divorce on indefinite hold.
As Thursday night’s deadline approached, there were no indications that Noah would give up the type of money necessary to work out a buyout, according to multiple sources. The exiled center would’ve had to be waived by 11:59 p.m. to be eligible for a playoff roster on another team, but, barring a last-second change of heart, he will instead continue an uncomfortable partnership with the Knicks.
The next step will be waiting until the offseason to trade Noah (unlikely given his albatross contract) or until September when waiving him will have less of an impact on the cap. Using the stretch provision, the Knicks can finagle it so that Noah’s cap hit will decrease every year while extending over a longer period of time. It’s not ideal, but there appears no good solution to this mess. An alternative for the Knicks is to keep this standoff going for as long as possible while hoping the Player’s Union doesn’t file a grievance.
After this season, Noah will still be owed $38 million over two years. He and Jeff Hornacek were already on rocky terrain before their dust-up during a practice in February, which led to both sides agreeing to stay away from each other.
Another buyout candidate Jarrett Jack was also expected to remain with the team after Thursday, according to sources.
Jack, 34, has been cut out of the rotation for the sake of the youth movement and has garnered interest from playoff teams, but is also valued in New York as a mentor to its young point guards. Jack also wants to be a coach after retirement and Hornacek indicated that the remaining 20 games could help with that career path.
“Sure (Jack) wants to play. But I think he kind of understands where we’re at with these young guys and he’s doing his best even in practices, in games of helping these guys out. Kind of another coach out there,” Hornacek said. “That’ll bode well for him when he’s done playing in three or four years or whatever it is. He has great knowledge of the game and he’ll be a great coach one day.”
Kyle O’Quinn is likely headed toward free agency with a stated hope that he’ll stay with the Knicks.
“Being next to my family is the best,” said O’Quinn, a Queens product whose family still resides in the area. “Being next to my mom, you can’t put a measure on that. But the reality is you couldn’t tell me I wasn’t going to be in Orlando my whole career when they drafted me that night (in 2012). So anything can happen. We’re open to anything. But I’d love to be here for the rest of my career if I can.”
O’Quinn, who won the backup center spot in training camp, is averaging career highs in points (6.8), rebounds (5.7) and shooting percentage (60 percent). He has a player option in his contract for next year at $4.3 million and probably won’t pick it up.
O’Quinn was represented by agent Andy Miller, whose NBPA license was relinquished amid an FBI investigation into his dealings with NCAA players.