Jeff Hornacek tight-lipped about alleged altercation with Joakim Noah
New York Knicks head coach Jeff Hornacek was not inclined to discuss at any length the alleged recent altercation between himself and Joakim Noah.
Reports surfaced that a heated exchange between the center and Hornacek was the impetus to the team exiling Noah. Not only that, subsequent reporting indicated Hornacek allegedly shoved Noah during the altercation.
Hornacek not surprisingly declined to comment on the alleged incident following a Tuesday night practice session.
“That’s something that happened three, four weeks ago,” Hornacek said, via the New York Post. “We handled that thing with Jo. It’s not finalized because he’s still on the roster. We’ve dealt with that situation. There’s really nothing more to say about it, update it. We’ve moved on. He’s ready to move on and maybe have an opportunity somewhere else. That’s really our focus to go play Orlando [on Thursday]. We have 23 games left.
“We’re trying to get our young guys to step it up. That’s kind of an old story and all done with as far as I’m concerned.”
When asked to confirm or deny whether he pushed Noah, Hornacek would not say.
“I’m not going to comment on any of that stuff and stories that are out there,” Hornacek said. He added any final determination on Noah’s status with the Knicks will be made by the front office.
Hornacek was asked, however, whether Noah’s tenure with the Knicks is at an endpoint.
“I think that is the plan,” Hornacek said.
Noah, with his bloated contract — $38 million remains on his deal — along with a severe lack of productivity, could not be dealt at the NBA trade deadline. That means the Knicks’ best option to rid themselves of Noah’s evident toxic presence is to work out a buyout. The issue with that approach is that Noah doesn’t appear interested in negotiating one.
The Knicks could waive Noah and use the stretch provision this offseason to stretch out Noah’s salary over five years with annual payments of approximately $7.5 million. It’s not the most ideal resolution, but it appears to be the Knicks’ only option.