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Joakim Noah to sign with Memphis Grizzlies

ESPN.com | Updated: 2018-12-05 02:00:15

After undergoing a physical, free agent center Joakim Noah is signing a one-year, veteran's minimum contract with the Memphis Grizzlies on Tuesday worth a prorated $1.73 million, league sources told ESPN.

Noah, 33, will serve as a backup center for the Grizzlies. He will join the team for Tuesday's practice, sources told ESPN.

The Knicks waived Noah in the preseason, using the league's stretch provision. Noah, 33, had two years and $37.8 million remaining on his contract. The move freed up more than $10 million in cap space for the Knicks in the summer in 2019, when they hope to attract a top free agent.

The Knicks saved $190,895 on a contract offset with Noah signing with the Grizzlies, ESPN's Bobby Marks reports.

Knicks general manager Scott Perry had been attempting to move Noah since prior to last February's trade deadline, but he had been cautiously unwilling to include the necessary assets -- a good young player, or a future first-round pick or picks -- to make Noah's contract palatable to another team.

Talks continued through the summer, but New York never came close to finding a deal to unload Noah, league sources said.

Noah and the Knicks separated in February following a heated argument between Noah and ex-coach Jeff Hornacek. The relationship spiraled after Noah and Hornacek had to be separated during a West Coast practice session in late January. Noah became vociferous toward Hornacek in the aftermath of a brief appearance in a ‪Jan. 23‬ game and engaged the coach verbally in practice the next day. Noah never played another game for New York.

Former Knicks president Phil Jackson signed Noah to a four-year, $72 million free-agent deal in July 2016 with the hope that he could be an anchor for New York's defense.

Noah, a two-time All-Star for the Chicago Bulls and 2014 Defensive Player of the Year, never made an impact with New York. He played 46 games in the 2016-17 season, losing time to various injuries and an arthroscopic surgery on his left knee. In February 2017, the NBA suspended Noah 20 games for taking a banned substance -- a suspension that cost him the first 12 games of the 2017-18 season.

Noah averaged 5.0 points and 8.8 rebounds in 22.1 minutes per game in his first season in New York. He averaged 1.7 points, 2.0 rebounds and 5.7 minutes in seven games in the 2017-18 season.

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