Brown: Why The Knicks Should Keep Joakim Noah

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By Jake Brown

Joakim Noah was given a large contract by Phil Jackson and the Knicks two summers ago. At the time, many people scratched their heads at the four-year, $72 million that was handed to a guy that had battled through his injuries his entire career, including coming off a season where he missed 53 games. 

Two years, various injuries, a PED suspension, and a confrontation with former head coach Jeff Hornacek later and it's time for the Knicks to figure out what they are going to do with Noah this season. Surprisingly enough, the answer to that question should be simple.

Play him. 

Noah told TMZ Sports that he "loves New York" and he responded "for sure" when asked about wanting to return to the Knicks. 

Releasing him and eating the money or stretching out his contract and paying for it down the road makes no sense at all. Why limit this team for more than the two years just to get rid of him?

Also, he has absolutely no trade value right now. Without playing him, he won't have any value. If you play him and he has a nice season, that gives you the chance to potentially deal him next summer when he has an expiring contract, which will be more valuable. This team isn't going to be winning many games next season. Having Noah on the roster isn't losing them any more games. Either way, they likely are going to be a lottery pick.

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Finally, why not give him a shot? After the suspension, Hornacek clearly had a riff with Noah, which eventually became public and led to the team mutually agreeing for him to leave the team in February. He got almost no playing time last season, and when he did sparingly, it came in garbage time or for very limited minutes. Noah never got that chance to prove himself after the injury and after the suspension. Add in the fact that he wasn't getting along with the coach, and it became a huge mess. 

Now, David Fizdale is in charge, who already appears to be more of a player's coach that guys will get behind. Noah has his chance to get a fresh start with Fizdale and potentially earn more minutes. With Kristaps Porzingis out for at least half the season and possibly the entire year, why not get Noah on the court? 

The Knicks are lacking depth at power forward and center. Mario Hezonja and Lance Thomas are more small forwards than power forwards. The only other center the Knicks have after Enes Kanter is Luke Kornet, who doesn't ooze much confidence just yet. Mitchell Robinson is there too, but it's almost 100% likely he starts off in the G League to get reps since he hasn't had game action in a long, long time outside of Summer League. If there was ever a time the Knicks could use Noah, it's this season. It's only going to benefit all parties involved playing him.

Not to mention, this young Knicks roster could use a veteran leader. The 33-year-old Noah is the oldest guy on the roster, and has has plenty of playoff experience as well with the Bulls, where he made it there seven times. That's more than any other Knick on the roster. Remember, there was that time when Noah was a double-double machine and a defensive mastermind with the Bulls, which was four years ago. Noah has also always been vocal on and off the court. He knows how to communicate and help on defense.

The Knicks have got to put the past in the past, and realize that Noah is an asset that this team really needs right now. Whatever happened with Hornacek and the suspension and the injuries is behind them. Let him play and try and prove himself before eating his overpriced contract or stretching it out to cost the team down the road. Let the veteran be part of this rebuild and try and help the "Fiz Kids" grow. 

You can follow Jake on Twitter for more on the New York sports landscape @JakeBrownRadio.