Joakim Noah is poised for a return to the NBA following his release from the New York Knicks last month.
According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, the center has agreed to a one-year deal with the Memphis Grizzlies and will sign a veteran's minimum contract to play for the Western Conference side next week.
Noah spent the first nine seasons of his career with the Chicago Bulls, who selected him as the 9th overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft. He joined the Knicks in 2016, signing a four-year, $72 million contract with his hometown side. But things hardly worked as initially imagined.
The 33-year-old suffered a season-ending knee injury in February last year, having averaged 5.0 points and 8.8 rebounds prior to hurting his knee. The NBA handed him a 20-game suspension for contravention of their drug policy in March. And a month later, the player would have surgery on an injured shoulder.
"I'm dealing with a lot of adversity right now," he said last October, via New York Daily News' Stefan Bondy. "It's just where the cards fall. It's like being a rookie all over again. I have to prove myself. And I have to prove myself every day. It's a challenge. It's a challenge I put myself in."
Noah began his 2017-2018 season in late November, playing just seven times before he left the team for "personal reasons", per reports.
It was later reported that the veteran had a heated argument with then-Knicks head coach Jeff Hornacek. And, after trying to trade him for several months, the Knicks waived the center last month via a stretch provision that has lightened their cap hit.
They will still be paying him for the next few years, but the provision will allow them to free up enough cap space to pursue the biggest names in free agency next summer.
What This Means
The Grizzlies, meanwhile, have Marc Gasol as their prime center and they have gone into this deal expecting that Noah will provide a solid backup for the Spaniard.
The player's arrival will also see to it that Jaren Jackson Jr. occupies his favored power forward spot.
This move doesn't involve much risk for Memphis. They've only committed to a single season on a minimum contract and should get an able secondary center for their trouble.