Sources: Joakim Noah, Knicks close to deal


Free-agent center Joakim Noah and the New York Knicks are working to finalize a deal in the range of four years and $70 million-plus, league sources told The Vertical.

Noah plans to fly from New York to Orlando, Fla., to meet with Knicks president Phil Jackson on Friday morning, sources said. Discussions will continue Friday to finalize the deal, sources said.

In New York, Noah would return to his hometown franchise and be surrounded by a core of former teammate Derrick Rose, Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis. Noah would like to retire as a Knick, sources said. Noah and Rose remain close, and have discussed at length a reunion in New York, sources said. Other teams tried to schedule a meeting with Noah, and Washington was a close suitor, sources said.

Noah experienced multiple shoulder injuries last season and ultimately had season-ending surgery on his left shoulder in January. He made progress in the months to come, steadily reaching benchmarks in his rehab. Around Noah, there is excitement about joining the Knicks, and it has stemmed from his offseason training and his goal to succeed as part of a talented roster.

Noah, 31, appeared in 29 games last season, averaging 4.3 points, 8.8 rebounds, 3.8 assists and one block in 21.9 minutes a night. Under new coach Fred Hoiberg, Noah could never find traction in an established role, and his confidence wavered, which attributed to his worst free-throw-shooting season by a wide margin (48.9 percent).

For his career, Noah has been one of the NBA's better defending big men, with the ability to guard perimeter players in screen switches. In 2013-14, Noah won the Defensive Player of the Year award while averaging 12.6 points, 11.3 rebounds and 5.4 assists.

Noah established himself in the community of Chicago and as part of the Bulls' franchise.

After winning two national championships in three years at the University of Florida, Noah went to Chicago as the No. 9 pick in the NBA draft. He found increased traction as a pro with each passing season early in his career.

In nine seasons, Noah has averaged 9.3 points, 9.4 rebounds and 1.4 blocks.

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