Noah signed a lucrative four-year, $72 million contract with the Knicks two years ago, reuniting with former Chicago Bulls teammate Derrick Rose. The two-time All-Star and renowned defensive stalwart had a miserable tenure in the Big Apple, however, and thus leaving the Knicks no choice.
Noah appeared in just 46 games in the 2016-17 season, missing time with a knee injury and landing a 20-game suspension for violating the NBA's anti-drug policy. Noah's suspension carried over to the start of 2017-18, and a confrontation with head coach Jeff Hornacek caused Noah to take a leave of absence from the team. He played just seven games in 2017-18.
Per Wojnarowski and Begley, waiving Noah will move his cap hit from $19.3 million in 2019-20 to $6.4 million. Though that will cost them $6.4 million in 2020 and 2021, per the ESPN writers, the Knicks have cleared more cap space to get active in a star-studded 2019 free agent market.
The Knicks were mentioned as a possible landing spot for Kyrie Irving, but the All-Star point guard has revealed his intentions to re-sign with the Boston Celtics. However, the 2019 market includes Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, DeMarcus Cousins and Jimmy Butler. This is barring any contract extensions with their respective teams, of course.
New York has plenty of cap space to sign one or two star free agents to big contracts next year, and keeping around an ageing, unhealthy and past-his-prime Noah simply wasn't on the table. The Knicks made the right choice to move on from one of the most disappointing free agent signings in recent memory.
Noah was named the 2014 NBA Defensive Player of the Year and has averaged 8.9 points, 9.3 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game in his career.