The NBA Regular Season came to an end on Sunday. Also coming to an end was Joakim Noah getting paid by the New York Knicks to NOT play. The Knicks, who have a reputation of dishing out huge contracts that do not exactly pan out (Allan Houston, Amar’e Stoudemire, Eddy Curry to name a few), finally have gotten Noah’s contract off their books.
Back in 2016, President of basketball operations in New York, Phil Jackson signed Noah to a four-year, $72 million contract after his previous two seasons with the Bulls were less than impressive, missing 86 games and putting up pedestrian numbers. Hoping for a rebound, Jackson took a gamble on Noah, and lost big time.
As a sign of things to come, Noah’s first season in the Big Apple was a disaster, averaging a paltry 5.0 points per game and 8.8 rebounds. To make things worse, he ended up needing knee surgery and also had a drug suspension, limiting him to only 46 games. Needless to say, it was not the start the Knicks were looking for. Things did not get any better in year two, either, as the injuries continued to pile up and he only appeared in 7 games that season. New York would eventually release him in October of 2018.
Noah decided to not accept a buy out, so the Knicks were forced to stretch the money he would have made in 2019-2020 over 3 years, with this year being the final season where he collected a cool $6.431 million. He made more money this season than several of the young and upcoming players on New York’s roster, including Mitchell Robinson, Immanuel Quickley and Quentin Grimes combined!
There are several examples across all sports of teams overpaying for past success and stretching out the payments of these ludicrous contracts into further years. The most famous one has to be Bobby Bonilla, who is still being paid by the New York Mets until 2035, when he will be 72 years old. Maybe it’s a New York thing.