The LA Clippers signing Joakim Noah is a future-proofing move.
On Sunday, the LA Clippers officially announced the signing of center Joakim Noah. Noah signed a deal through 2021 after having started on a 10-day contract just prior to the NBA season being suspended. Noah was unable to suit up for the team even once but still earned the longer-term deal (which is not fully guaranteed).
So why did the Clippers sign someone who they haven’t even seen play in a real NBA game this season? The future, of course.
Sure, Noah fits in with the tough, hard-nosed culture that the Clippers are building. That goes without saying. The real reason they signed him though is to have a “break seal in case of emergency” center next season.
The elephant in the room is Montrezl Harrell’s impending free agency. He was playing some of the best ball of his career prior to the league suspension and is looking to show he deserves a payday this summer. Teams will have less money due to the salary cap dropping but Trezz still should expect quite a big check.
Do the Clippers give that to him? We don’t know. They have both Paul George and Kawhi Leonard entering free agency in the summer of 2021 and everyone assumes the Clips will pay them the full supermax to stay in LA. Does that thought keep them from offering market value to Trezz? We don’t know.
If they do offer him less though and he decides to go get his money, having Noah on the books is a solid place to be in. There’s no telling how the free-agent market will look, so the Clippers are taking the sure thing.
Will Noah be the best big man even after free agents hit the market next summer?
They still had to take him. It’s not often a solid veteran backup who fits your culture signs with you, so keeping him for a longer period of time makes perfect sense. Even if Trezz does come back to the Clippers (fingers crossed he does), Noah is an awesome team guy to just have around. All in all, this was a great move by the Clippers in every way