20 October 2020

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Joakim Noah Still Hoping For an NBA Return

Two-time All-Star Joakim Noah has hope that his NBA career is not over yet. After having a resurgent 2018-2019 season with the Memphis Grizzlies, Noah hoped to find a new NBA home the following season. Even though the 2014 Defensive Player of the year averaged 7.1 points on 51.6% shooting and 5.7 rebounds in under 18 minutes last year, no NBA team signed Noah to a contract. Noah, now being 34, is hoping to change that now that the Trade Deadline has passed. He currently sits with Darren Collison and J.R. Smith as the top remaining free agents to help a team make a playoff push, or bolster a championship roster.

Noah had gained a bit of attention around the league after Dallas Mavericks Center, Dwight Powell, suffered an Achilles injury. The Mavericks had reportedly touched base with Joakim Noah because they were in need of a replacement Center. They ended choosing to trade for Willie Cauley-Stein, but it gave Noah a bit of attention.

With the Trade Deadline now passed, several teams have a gaping hole at the Center spot. Many teams may be interested in signing Noah now that he is the best available option outside of calling someone up for the G-League, which likely isn’t the ideal move to improve a team. Noah has reportedly been staying in shape, waiting for an opportunity to help a team make a run at a Championship a playoff push. Several teams are in need of a Center to help them compete with the top teams in the league, who could use Noah as a valuable rotation piece.

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The Houston Rockets

Rockets forward P.J. Tucker reacts after sinking a three-point shot against the Nuggets on Jan. 7.
(Michael Wyke / Associated Press)

Let’s get the obvious out of the way, Houston traded their two Centers before the deadline to Atlanta, receiving the 6’8 Jordan Bell, is now their current tallest player on their roster. Don’t let their victory against the LA Lakers fool you, P.J. Tucker can’t be playing Center for the rest of the season, at least not for 30 minutes a game.

Noah would fix that problem as he is 6’11. There aren’t any reports of Houston being in talks with Noah, but it would make sense for the Rockets to have someone on the roster that’s 6’10 or taller. Houston will eventually realize that Tucker is not the answer at Center when they go up against Dwight Howard, Joel Embiid, or Rudy Gobert. They’re going to need someone with real paint defense and has the size to hold his own against the more dominant Centers in the NBA.

The Boston Celtics

Photo: Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images

The other popular option is Boston. The Celtics are lacking a true Center, having two 6’8 Centers in Daniel Theis and Robert Grant III, as well as Enes Kanter, who does not like to play defense. They could really use a defensive minded Center to help take pressure off of Kemba and Tatum on offense. Tatum is a slightly undersized Power Forward, so they don’t want to go into the playoffs with an undersized Center as well.

Boston is also the better option over Houston because Houston does not have a real chance of making it out of the Western Conference. THe Celtics, however, could get out of the East. Yes, Giannis is there, but who knows. The Bucks aren’t as good as the Lakers, despite the records, and are more prone to losing in the playoffs.

Noah hasn’t been reported to be in talks with Boston either, he hasn’t actually reported to be talking to any teams as of now, but that will soon change. If he really has been grinding during his time off he will get plenty of suitors.

WASHINGTON, DC – MARCH 16: Joakim Noah #55 of the Memphis Grizzlies looks on in the first half against the Washington Wizards at Capital One Arena on March 16, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

Other options include the Pistons, Bulls and Pacers, all of whom could use some depth at the Center. Whatever team he goes to, he will be a help. It is very surprising no team has signed him up to this point. He will likely find an NBA team before the end of the signing deadline. Only a matter of which teams jumps on it first.

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