Ian Begley and Adrian Wojnarowski report:
After waiving Joakim Noah on Saturday, the New York Knicks will use the stretch provision on the remaining year of his contract to clear salary-cap space in an effort to pursue top free agents in the summer of 2019, league sources told ESPN.
Using the stretch provision reduces Noah’s cap hit of $19.3 million in 2019-20 to $6.4 million, saving the team $12.9 million toward the cap. Stretching his contract, though, will cost the Knicks $6.4 million in cap space in the summers of 2020 and 2021.
If the Knicks, as expected, do not give Kristaps Porzingis a max rookie extension by Oct. 15, they project to have $31 million in room next summer. The room does not factor in the salary owed to their 2019 first-round pick or the free-agent hold of Enes Kanter, who is in the final year of his contract.
The projected max contract next season for a player with seven to nine years of service is $32.7 million annually, and it is $38.15 million for a player with 10-plus years of service.
There are two ways to look at this:
1. It certainly suggests that the Knicks are all in on signing a max free agent next season.
2. It is possible, though, that they are just really intent on not cutting some of the guys that they have under contract and cutting Noah clears a roster spot.
Personally, I think stretching Noah for either reason is not a great idea, but especially if #2 is actually the intent. If they want to go all in on a max free agent next season, I at least get the logic. If you are that worried about losing Noah Vonleh or Luke Kornet, well, I am less impressed with that logic.
That the Knicks could not get Noah to take a single bit of a paycut (the Lakers got Luol Deng to take a $7.5 million paycut) is also quite disappointing.
Oh well, at least they didn’t do anything else that stupid this offseason! One terrible move is a huge upgrade for this franchise!