The New York Knicks took a risk by bringing in Derrick Rose due to his injury history but it was a one-year tryout essentially. It was a low-risk, high-reward move. Almost as soon as Rose tried on his Knicks jersey the rumors began swirling that Joakim Noah wasn’t far behind. It turns out he wasn’t as he is reportedly set to join the Knicks though nothing is official at the moment.
According to reports, Noah is going to earn around $18 million per year which would leave the Knicks about $11 million in cap space to fill out their roster which would include finding a starting shooting guard. Adding Noah for anywhere close to that amount is a big risk. Noah’s contract is rumored to be for four years and $72 million which is a big risk for the Knicks to take on.
Last season, Noah appeared in only 29 games due to shoulder issues. He averaged just 21.9 minutes per game while averaging 4.3 PPG and 8.8 RPG. That’s a lot of money for a 31-year-old with his injury history and a downward trend in numbers.
Noah has made a name for himself with his gritty play over the years. However, the hard-nosed play might have taken a toll on him as he has seen his play decline sharply. The Knicks are gambling that he will be healthy and that he will be the player that averaged a double-double like in 2013-14.
The Knicks’ window to win a championship never really opened. Amar’e Stoudemire was supposed to be the player that changed things. Then he teamed with Carmelo Anthony, the true superstar the Knicks thought they needed. Stoudemire and Anthony never meshed when the two were on the court together and the Knicks managed just three playoff appearances with Stoudemire and Anthony and never advancing beyond the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals. The other two playoff appearances were first round exits.
Anthony is still the straw that stirs the Knicks’ drink but his window to win a championship is closing fast. He has appeared in 70 or more games just twice with the Knicks and never more than 77. Last season he appeared in 72 games but also played several games while banged up and clearly a shell of the player he can be. In 2014-15 he appeared in just 40 games. Can Anthony stay healthy? Can Rose stay healthy? Is Noah’s shoulder good to go after surgery and will he hold up over a full season?
The Knicks are gambling right now. Rose was a gamble that made sense since it was only one year. Noah is a longer-term commitment with no guarantee he will hold for a season let alone four. Now, the Knicks are reportedly going hard after Dwyane Wade. While the Knicks’ roster would look good five years ago, adding these aging, injury-prone players is a gamble that is likely to blow up in their faces. If Wade and Noah sign and are healthy though, and Rose and Anthony can stay healthy the Knicks would have a shot of getting deep into the playoffs. For Phil Jackson’s sake it better work out that way.
If the Knicks do sign Noah and Wade they will have very little, if any cap room left. They would likely have to deal a bench player or two and sign cheaper players or risk going into the season with a thin roster. Either way, it looks like they will be loaded in their starting five but thin on the bench and given the age and health issues facing this roster that might be asking too much.