A long-time NBA veteran’s career looks to be over.
The Los Angeles Clippers are waiving the 35-year-old Joakim Noah, which likely means its the end of the big man’s career, his agent, Bill Duffy, told ESPN Tuesday night.
Noah, who has played 13 seasons in the NBA, is best known for his first nine years with the Chicago Bulls in which he made his mark as a gritty defender and competitor under coach Tom Thibodeau, now the coach of the New York Knicks.
Noah, the son of former French Open tennis champion Yannick Noah, also helped lead the Florida Gators to consecutive national titles before the Bulls selected him with the ninth overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft.
Noah, a two-time All-Star, also played two seasons with the Knicks and a season each with the Memphis Grizzlies and the Clippers. He averaged 8.8 points and 9.0 rebounds per game in his career.
“What an illustrious career for Joakim, starting with two national titles at the University of Florida, to becoming an NBA Defensive Player of the Year and ultimately evolving into one of the most passionate, spirited players to ever come through our sport,” Duffy told ESPN. “It’s been my honor to represent Joakim through his journey.”
Noah, who was given four-year, $72 million contract with the Knicks in the summer of 2016, lasted just two years during his controversy-filled stint in New York and became one of the symbols of the failed Phil Jackson era.
The 6-foot-11 center did not live up to his big deal as he was plagued by injuries, suspended for a failed performance-enhancing drug test, distracted by off-the-court issues (some, he admits, of his own making, like partying too much while he was injured) and at odds with former coach Jeff Hornacek.
“I reflect on that time, and I feel like we underachieved,” Noah said when he returned to Madison Square Garden as a member of the Grizzlies the following season. “And I don’t want to go back into the past, but I look back at things that I could have done better and I take some blame.
“I take some blame. I didn’t perform to what I was capable of, even though I had a lot of injuries, I had a lot going on outside the court. It’s disappointing. It’s definitely something I have to live with.”
Noah also said recently he believed Thibodeau will do well with the Knicks.
“Defense and practice habits,” the Clippers’ 35-year-old forward wrote in an Instagram post in July. “The Knicks are in good hands. All he cares about is hoop. Perfect fit.”