Statistical Analysis. Humor. Knicks.

Friday, November 16, 2018

The Math of Joakim Noah’s Stretch Provision

There is some understandable confusion with regards to how this stuff works, so I figured I’d spell it all out for you.

There are two different times in a season when a player can be waived using the stretch provision. You can waive them between July 1st and August 31st and then you can waive them between September 1st and June 30th.

If you waive them during that July 1st/August 31st period, then you split the remaining years of the player’s contract over a period of two times the remaining years plus one. In the case of, say, Joakim Noah, then had the Knicks waived him back in August, he would have counted as $7,565,000 a year against the cap for each of the next five seasons (the two remaining seasons on his deal times two plus one, so five years).

The Knicks, though, would only open up minimal cap space this season had they done this (essentially less than they would have to spend using the mid-level exception had they not gone under the cap), so they did not do that.

Instead, the Knicks waited until just the other day to waive Noah and use the stretch provision on him.

If you waive a player between September 1st and June 30th, you pay them their normal salary in the current season and then the remaining years on the contract after that are stretched out over twice the remaining years, plus one.

This means that the Knicks pay Noah his entire salary this season and then spread out the remaining $19,295,000 over three years, which equals $6,431,666 a year over the next three years.

You might notice, then, that that means had the Knicks waited until next offseason, when they knew whether a free agent would sign with them or not, they would have been able to waive Noah then and then use the stretch provision to split the $19,295,000 over three seasons, which would end up in exactly the same spot as they are now, financially.

Of course, teams can also work out different terms with the player where the player can give up more money so that they can become a free agent. That obviously did not happen here.

In simplest terms, there is no financial benefit for next offeason for the Knicks waiving Noah and using the stretch provision on him now. Even if they think that they are a place where free agents would like to sign next July, they could have waived Noah then and achieved the same benefit.

In other words, the only benefit to the Knicks by doing this now is opening up a roster spot for a player. I’ll leave it up to you to debate whether that benefit is worth this move.

42 comments on “The Math of Joakim Noah’s Stretch Provision

  1. chrisk06811

    I would have paid the bastard to sit at home, under our control, until he either settled, or until his career ended. then after 2 years you are totally done w/ him. that expiring deal might have been worth something next year.

  2. Frank

    Frank’s not a point guard. I guess you can try to jam the square peg into the round hole for a thousand minutes or so, but I really don’t think it’s going to change the outcome.

    Carrying this over from the other thread–
    Frank is not a good offensive PG right now but playing him at the 3 neutralizes where he is most effective on defense- at the point of attack. He freaking eats up ball handlers. He’ll be good on switches too. Playing him at the 3 just means his guy will stand in the corner and our best defender will stand in the corner with him rather than disrupting the offense. What’d they call it when teams did that to the Spurs and Kawhi? Kawhi-solation?

    Frank + KP without any other PGs on the floor (no Jack/Sessions/Burke/Mudiay) , meaning Frank on the ball –> 634 possessions, 98th percentile defense (DRtg 97.5). The offense wasn’t good (19th percentile) but that defense was so good it still led to a net rating of +6.3 (85th percentile).

    KP + anyone other than Frank = a 40th percentile defense (109 DRtg).

    Put Frank on the floor with other guys that can help create offense, and let him wreak havoc on defense. Remember – Frank + THJ + KP with no other PGs on the floor –> +17 net rating, 98th percentile defense, 87th percentile offense. Coaching malpractice that they didn’t play a ton more together.

  3. thenamestsam

    I think the best defense of the move is the idea that there is a real value to maintaining good relationships with players and probably more importantly player agents. I don’t know who reps Noah and a quick google didn’t answer the question but I do think it’s reasonable to think there is some amount of reputation effect at play here, and if there’s a perception that you’re holding a player hostage against his will (i.e. not letting him play for you but also not giving him the opportunity to play elsewhere) you may be poisoning the well to some extent. Noah’s career may have already rotted away, but I wouldn’t be shocked to see him at least get a look from some teams this year and certainly from his perspective the sooner he has the chance to play again the better.

    I don’t think that’s necessarily a good argument for doing this, and I’m not saying this is some big effect where all free agents are going to boycott the Knicks or whatever (certainly there are plenty of other good reasons FA might be hesitant about coming here) but I do think it’s worth mentioning as a factor as relevant as a roster spot for this year (particularly given that this team has Mudiay and Baker on the roster). I’d say given those two factors you’d still need to be extremely sure you’re using the cap space next summer to make this worth it, more sure than the Knicks have any business being. So this is a bad move. But I do think that effect is real and probably hard for us to evaluate as outsiders.

  4. Nick C.

    What is the financial downside to stretching him? If I read correctly waiving him this year or next nets the same result capwise. Isn’t it better to just cut your losses and move on?

  5. Brian Cronin Post author

    You could not waive him this year or next year and then have him off the cap after next season. That would be the true definition of just cutting your losses.

    While having the ability to waive him in case, say, Kevin Durant actually says that he’ll play for the Knicks next season. In other words, you could go through the offseason and see if you’re going to sign someone big and if you get rejected by everyone, then you can decide to not waive him. The only thing waiving him now does is open up a roster spot.

  6. Cock Jowles, #1 Purveyor of Wanton Chuckery

    This news that Porzingis will not be extended until summer is very good news. I thought for sure he was about to get Bookered.

  7. alsep73

    Nope. Waiting to extend him next summer means we have a extra $10 mil in cap room to use on other free agents first. Even if he was fully healthy, I think they’d have waited.

  8. thenoblefacehumper

    I agree that the best explanation involves interpersonal relationships with agents, the union, etc. I just personally am skeptical that anyone would view the Knicks all that badly in a scenario in which they say they’re happy to welcome him back to the team as long as he’s not a negative presence, they’re happy to negotiate a buyout, and they understand if Noah just doesn’t want to show up.

    They’d literally only be saying they don’t want to pay the sticker price for him to play for another team. I’m inclined to think all the relevant parties would find that understandable, but who knows I guess.

  9. Brian Cronin Post author

    Paul Allen just died ???

    Awful news. He was possibly the best owner in NBA history.

  10. Hubert

    Another reason I’m not ready to judge this is bc I believe the most seismic moves in the NBA don’t just begin to happen on the first day of free agency. The Lakers knew Shaq wanted to go there in ‘97, they didn’t just gut a playoff team and pray. Riley didn’t tear town a playoff team in Miami, either, without having some idea what was going to be possible a year later.

    If Durant does, in fact, come here, he almost definitely found some way to signal that intent to the Knicks thru intermediaries, like LeBron likely did to LA. That may be why there’s as much credible talk of this possibility as there was with James last year.

    And if Durant did do that, then it’s a no-brainer to stretch him now. If he doesn’t come here, then he clearly didn’t do that, and this is as dumb as it seems

    We’ll see.

  11. Stratomatic "Porzingis, Ntilikina, Knox & Robinson are going to lead us to the promised land

    The only thing waiving him now does is open up a roster spot.

    While I believe the correct thing to do is to try to sign a legit max free agent in the off season, I see no reason they had to do this now either given the roster spots they are saving are for Kornet and Mudiay. I’m willing to give them a little leeway on Mudiay only because they probably don’t want to embarrass themselves by admitting it was a bad move so soon, but there’s almost no way Kornet is going to be anything but an end of the bench player.

  12. Z-man

    This news that Porzingis will not be extended until summer is very good news. I thought for sure he was about to get Bookered.

    Well, if you’re a glass half-empty guy, it could also mean that he won’t be getting Turnered.

  13. Brian Cronin Post author

    Another reason I’m not ready to judge this is bc I believe the most seismic moves in the NBA don’t just begin to happen on the first day of free agency. The Lakers knew Shaq wanted to go there in ‘97, they didn’t just gut a playoff team and pray. Riley didn’t tear town a playoff team in Miami, either, without having some idea what was going to be possible a year later.

    If Durant does, in fact, come here, he almost definitely found some way to signal that intent to the Knicks thru intermediaries, like LeBron likely did to LA. That may be why there’s as much credible talk of this possibility as there was with James last year.

    And if Durant did do that, then it’s a no-brainer to stretch him now. If he doesn’t come here, then he clearly didn’t do that, and this is as dumb as it seems

    We’ll see.

    Again, they could do this next year and free up the exact same amount of cap room (over the same amount of years). All this does is open up an extra roster spot for Luke Kornet or whoever, which is, well, you know, not a good reason to make a move like this.

    Also, the Lakers didn’t gut their playoff team back in 1996 until draft time. It wasn’t like they did all those trades a year ahead of time, because they likely didn’t know for sure that Shaq was coming there until after the postseason ended.

    The Lebron to Miami thing was unique. You rarely have players literally conspire to join a team together like that. So yes, in that particular instance, I do agree that Miami blew up their team knowing that they were likely adding Bosh and Lebron.

  14. Stratomatic "Porzingis, Ntilikina, Knox & Robinson are going to lead us to the promised land

    This news that Porzingis will not be extended until summer is very good news. I thought for sure he was about to get Bookered.

    It’s good news, but not for the reason you think. He’s getting the max. It just means they are “all in” on trying to sign a max free agent next year.

    They’ve obviously spoken to KP about the strategy and maximizing the cap space. Whether he’s fully on board or not I’d have to say “no”, but they wouldn’t be doing it if he was very upset. However, it does change the math on whether he comes back this year, how many minutes he gets, and what risks he’s going to take on the court. If God forbid he should blow out the knee again or blow out the other knee, he would cost himself a small fortune by not getting the extension now. So if I were him, I’d come back later, play way fewer minutes, and not drive and bang to the same extent as I might if I had that extension locked up.

    Now we go onto the risk that they sign someone like Kemba Walker to a max contract if they strike out on Durant, Irving, and to a lesser extent Butler.

  15. Z-man

    seems like the NBA season opens tomorrow with PHI-BOS and the G-League season opens Wednesday with ATL-NYK

  16. Brian Cronin Post author

    Now we go onto the risk that they sign someone like Kemba Walker to a max contract if they strike out on Durant, Irving, and to a lesser extent Butler.

    That’s got to be the #1 concern at this point, yeah.

  17. Cock Jowles, #1 Purveyor of Wanton Chuckery

    if you’re a glass half-empty guy

    I’ve never been accused of such a thing

  18. Brian Cronin Post author

    What’s the joke? “Optimists view the glass as half-full, pessimists view the glass as half-empty and realists say that the glass is filled with piss.”

  19. Stratomatic "Porzingis, Ntilikina, Knox & Robinson are going to lead us to the promised land

    If Durant does, in fact, come here, he almost definitely found some way to signal that intent to the Knicks thru intermediaries, like LeBron likely did to LA. That may be why there’s as much credible talk of this possibility as there was with James last year.

    I obviously have no insight into Durant, but I agree with the gist of what you are saying.

    That’s one reason I pointed out in a previous thread that we as fans are operating on the assumption that all this business is done on the up and up when it’s not. I’d bet anything that Mills and Perry have some idea of who is likely to leave and what their chances are of getting him to NY. There’s a whole season to play and a lot can change between now and then. There are no iron clad agreements, but there’s no chance that people in our organization don’t have a WAY better idea of who might be legitimately interested than we do by talking to agents, friends, etc…

  20. Brian Cronin Post author

    Just like when Donnie Walsh traded away a first round draft pick to make room for the Knicks to sign a second max free agents to pair with Lebron when Lebron had decided he was going to go to Miami, like, two years earlier.

  21. Hubert

    On what basis do you think Noah would have been happy with the arrangement you propose? He fought his coach over playing time! You think you he would take being humiliated like this lying down?

    The last time we tried to do this to a player he made fools out of us, watching games in the stands and eating Vaseline on YouTube.

    Noah’s out there in the fucking jungle doing god knows what. What if he overdoses on his next trip to Costa Rica? What if he gets arrested for DUI? What if he pulls a Jayson Williams and kills a man? Now that’s “Retired NBA player Joakim Noah,” not “New York Knick Joakim Noah.”

    So there is more to this than a roster spot. There’s the guaranteed avoidance of a circus and the removal of any risk associated with what he may do while we’re paying him to stay away.

    So again, I maintain that if you’re confident in your ability to sign Durant, it is *smart* to do this now. The benefits are:

    1. Roster spot
    2. Total elimination of a distraction for a new coach
    3. The guarantee of no potentially embarrassing and damaging blowback

    And if Durant has no interest in coming here and we end up maxing Kemba Walker, i’m in complete agreement about how dumb this is.

  22. Brian Cronin Post author

    On what basis do you think Noah would have been happy with the arrangement you propose? He fought his coach over playing time! You think you he would take being humiliated like this lying down?

    They offered to work out a buy out with him. If he was intent on getting out, he could take it. Since he didn’t, then he must not have been too worried about it.

    As to your other points, no, I am not in the last bit concerned about whether Joakim Noah might kill a guy.

    Heck, if you’re looking to Marbury for precedence, then what about the precedence of what I just noted about how the Knicks traded a first rounder to clear out cap room to get Lebron when Lebron had already decided to go to Miami two years earlier (or a year, whatever. You know, a lot of time ahead of time).

  23. alsep73

    In which I attempt to argue in favor of the timing of this move, even though I agree with everyone that the Knicks really should have waited:

    KP is already going to be eating up a roster spot for a good chunk of the season, and maybe all of it. As it is, only 12 of the 15 players dress every night, so it’s really not that big a deal. But Fiz has already said he’s going to play a deep rotation because he doesn’t want anyone averaging more than 28 minutes a night, and we know how little injuries can pile up over an 82-game schedule. There will be nights this season where, if Noah wasn’t cut, we’d have two or more rotation players unavailable due to injury, coach’s decision to rest guys on back-to-backs, etc. And on those nights — or for longer than one night, depending on the nature and amount of the injuries — the team would be playing short-handed.

    Again, I would still cut Mudiay now, and Kornet or Vonleh whenever we have to convert Trier to a full-time contract. (And Trier’s two-way status mitigates the short-handedness issue for a bit.) But if you squint, you can kinda sorta see a basketball reason for the move.

  24. Hubert

    So you think the fact that he was unwilling to give back any money equals he would have been happy being paid to stay away from the team and have no professional options for a year? I don’t see how that equates.

    He may not play but he could be on the TNT team by mid season, or anything else he wants to be. You can’t just put Joakim Noah on the roof of Hooli for a year like he’s Big Head. He’s going to file a grievance and you’ll likely be forced to either bring him back or buy him out like we just did.

  25. Stratomatic "Porzingis, Ntilikina, Knox & Robinson are going to lead us to the promised land

    Here’s the thing I still don’t understand.

    If I was Noah and wanted to play, I’d be anxious to move on and practice with my new team as quickly as possible so I don’t fall behind like I did to start in NY. To get that done as quickly as possible, I’d give back whatever the value of the new contract was. That way NY saves some money and I can move on as quickly as possible making the same exact amount of money as before.

    The fact that did not happen and NY just surrendered on getting some money back suggests that maybe Noah is telling the truth in that he has no traction on a new deal. So his attitude was. “you guys gave me this contract. Now I want every penny of it given I’m going to be out of basketball”. I can’t blame him for that. I wouldn’t give up a penny in that situation either.

    We’ll get the answer eventually.

    If he signs a deal with some team, then he kind of screwed us because not only will he be getting out of NY with his full salary, he’ll be making more than he would have otherwise and left us with no upside after his disastrous 2 years in NY.

    As far as dealing with players and agents goes, I agree that treating people in a positive way can only help. Sometimes it make sense to sacrifice a little for some good will with players and agents if you are trying to attract them to your city.

  26. Brian Cronin Post author

    He may not play but he could be on the TNT team by mid season, or anything else he wants to be. You can’t just put Joakim Noah on the roof of Hooli for a year like he’s Big Head. He’s going to file a grievance and you’ll likely be forced to either bring him back or buy him out like we just did.

    Just like the grievance he didn’t file when they did the same thing to him last year? If you pay them their full salary, players don’t have much grounds for grievances. Marbury, for instance, only filed a grievance once they docked his salary.

    The Knicks would have been glad to work out a buy out with him if that’s what he wanted. Apparently he didn’t want that. So they should have held out until he wanted to do it or when they needed the cap room.

  27. Stratomatic "Porzingis, Ntilikina, Knox & Robinson are going to lead us to the promised land

    By the way, I am not totally opposed to bringing Kemba Walker to NY if the major targets say “no”. I think he’s still young enough to be a very productive player for the duration of his next contract. I just don’t want to pay him anything close to the max. He’s making 12m this year. He’s worth more than that but less than the max. A team of Kemba, Frank, Knox, KP, Robinson, and our 1st round pick after this year could be a playoff team with a ton of upside even if they aren’t a title contender to start or ever. There’s no rule that says we can’t move any of them if we have the opportunity to roll up into a legit superstar at a later date. We’d just have to keep the salaries fair. Overpaying for Kemba is the disaster scenario.

  28. Totes McGoats as Totes McGoats

    RE: Free Agency..
    I may be in the minority, but I’m kinda lukewarm on the team’s prospects for “max” free agents. Lookit:
    1. Durant- why would he leave a championship team to play for the Knicks? Obviously I would LOVE to have him as a Knick. Thinking of a KP-Knox-KD-Ntilikina-Whomever lineup makes me salivate. But I can’t see him leaving the Dubs at this point in his career- especially when he’d get MORE MONEY to stay on a championship squad.
    2. Kyrie- Only if he’s healthy and THJ gets moved so we can pair him with Ntilikina. I feel like THJ is gonna hafta have a big season in order for the team to move him without attaching a good asset to the deal. He may be the most likely signing though, unless Ainge finds a home for Hayward.
    3. Butler- Great player, but BWAHAHAHAHAHA no. No effin way any team should max him at his age. Sorry. That’s way too much for a player not named Lebron or KD going into his 30’s at this point. He’d be a great addition, just not at that price.

    What about Kawhi? Would he want to be a Knick? Right now he’s a part of a GREAT looking lineup in Toronto. I wouldn’t hate it if he stays, but Ibaka and Lowry are getting up there. Great lineup, but that window is small.

  29. Stratomatic "Porzingis, Ntilikina, Knox & Robinson are going to lead us to the promised land

    What about Kawhi?

    I’m holding off on Kawhi until after we see him get through a season. I could swear that at one point during the controversy I read that his injury was a degenerative condition. Then that story kind of died without any denial that I ever saw. He may be an even greater injury risk than Irving.

  30. Knick fan not in NJ who thinks our rookies will lead us to a lousy lottery pick in 2019

    We always talk about the big names of today when we discuss free agents. Maybe Durant aside, players like Irving and Leonard will command a max contract that probably don’t give value for money in the latter years of the contract. I think we should think about younger players who might have a breakout season this coming year. I think one such possibility is Kelly Oubre. He is just turning 23 and his stats and minutes have been improving significantly every year. If he improves again this year, I would be happier with him than with some other names we have talked about.

  31. Brian Cronin Post author

    We always talk.about the big names of today when we discuss free agents. Maybe Durant aside, players like Irving and Leonard will command a max contract that probably don’t give value for money in the latter years of the contract. I think we should think about younger players who might have a breakout season this coming year. I think one such possibility is Kelly Oubre. He is just turning 23 and his stats and minutes have been improving significantly every year. If he improves again this year, I would be happier with him than with some other names we have talked about.

    If they can’t get a max guy, then yes, looking for value contracts is a smart use of their cap space. I doubt it happens, but it would be nice to see.

  32. Bruno Almeida

    I just don’t get this obsession that Noah could fine grievances or make hell happen if we told him to sit his ass on the bench.

    He doesn’t want to stay home? Ok, sit on the bench and collect DNP – coach’s decisions. A team can’t possibly be punished by choosing to not give minutes to a specific player. Then if he’s so disruptive in practice and the locker room, it’s the Knicks who are now justified to send him away.

    But well, it’s done, it’s fitting that another terrible Phil Jackson decision will still haunt us for a while.

  33. Nick C.

    So the gist of the argument is not that this affects the cap or finances, but that they “caved in” and let him go rather than negotiated a buy out.

  34. Brian Cronin Post author

    The gist is that since it doesn’t affect their cap or their finances to do it now as opposed to next July, then there was no reason to do it now (outside of assuring a roster spot for some marginal back of the roster player).

  35. Nick C.

    But there is no reason not to either. It seems like arguing just for the sake of arguing. (which I guess is what I am doing)

  36. Grocer

    If they had waited and no FA showed we could have waived him this time next year resulting in his contract not eating up future cap space. Doing it this way costs us less in 19-20, but 6.5 mil in the two years following that. We’re paying future money for a development roster spot, basically. It’s not a smart move.

  37. Brian Cronin Post author

    But there is no reason not to either. It seems like arguing just for the sake of arguing. (which I guess is what I am doing)

    Yes, the reason is that they can choose not to waive him if no free agent wants to come here and thus avoid being stuck paying Noah $6.5 million in 2020 and 2021. That would be the preferable course of action if no major free agent wanted to come sign here next year. If they waited until finding out if a major free agent wanted to come sign here next year, then they would have the freedom to choose which option to take, instead of committing to one choice now when they didn’t have to.

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