Veteran center Joakim Noah is one member of the New York Knicks who was sad to see the team part ways with Phil Jackson.
“It’s tough, man, because I got a lot of love and respect for Phil,’’ Noah said on the Truth Barrel Podcast (via the New York Post). “He gave me an opportunity to play back home. Somebody I read all his books as a kid. I was just a big fan and still am. I have a lot of respect for him. It didn’t work out. That sucks. It’s something I have to live with. He believed in me, and I kind of let him down. That’s frustrating. He got a lot of blame that it was his fault. But we didn’t lose all those games because of Phil Jackson.’’
Jackson and the Knicks signed Noah to a four-year, $72-million contract prior to the season. But Noah admittedly disappointed, falling victim to injury, and a drug suspension for Androgen. He will not be eligible to return to the lineup until Nov. 13 against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Noah, 32, was recently linked to trade talks involving the Knicks and Cavs.
“I still have a lot of mountains to climb,’’ Noah added. “My role, I don’t know what it’s going to be. I don’t know what’s coming. I want to be as ready as possible.’’
Here’s more out of New York:
- The Knicks and undrafted Florida State combo guard Xavier Rathan-Mayes agreed to a one-year, partially guaranteed contract, according to a report from Basketball Insiders. Rathan-Mayes averaged 12.4 points on 52 percent shooting last season with the Seminoles.
- Prior to the Rathan-Mayes news, it was learned the Knicks had also signed undrafted Pittsburgh shooting guard Jamel Artis. The team later made the signings of Artis, Rathan-Mayes and ex-Wisconsin forward Nigel Hayes official via press release.
- By the way, the Knicks already have 14 players under contract, meaning there could be a training camp battle for that final spot. Of course, there’s always the possibility that Carmelo Anthony could be dealt — impacting even the men near the end of the bench.