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The Memphis Grizzlies Are in ‘Extensive Discussions’ to Sign Joakim Noah

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The Memphis Grizzlies are in talks with the former Knicks center Joakim Noah about a potential contract, according to two people familiar with the negotiations.

There have been “extensive discussions” between the Grizzlies and Noah’s representatives about a deal that would bring the former All-Star back into the league, according to the people, who were not authorized to discuss the situation publicly.

Noah last played Jan. 23, for less than 5 minutes in a road loss to the Warriors, and essentially parted ways with the Knicks in February after he and then-Knicks Coach Jeff Hornacek had to be separated during a practice session in Denver.

[Also Read: Mo Williams Has Moved On From Cleveland, but Not From LeBron James]

The Knicks ultimately waived Noah in October after trying to trade him for months. At the time of his release, Noah still had two full seasons left on the original four-year, $72 million contract he received in the summer of 2016 from Phil Jackson, then the Knicks’ team president.

Noah turns 34 in February and has struggled to approach his two-time All-Star form thanks in part to a string of injuries. He has not played in more than 46 games since the 2014-15 season, when he was with the Bulls.

The Grizzlies’ interest stems from a desire to provide some frontcourt depth behind another former All-Star in Marc Gasol, who is having a resurgent season for Memphis.

Gasol is averaging 16.8 points and 9.3 rebounds in 34.2 minutes per game for the surprising Grizzlies, who are off to a 10-5 start. Memphis slumped to a 22-60 record last season when the veteran guard Mike Conley was only healthy enough to play in 12 games.

The Knicks released Noah when they did, using what is known as the stretch provision, to reduce the $19.3 million salary cap hit they were scheduled to incur next season because of his contract. Knicks officials hope the move will give them additional salary-cap space next summer for their pursuit of top-tier free agents such as Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.

Noah’s first season in New York was marred by a knee injury in February 2017 that required surgery, followed by a 20-game suspension for violating the league’s antidrug policy.


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