LOS ANGELES — Jimmy Butler has been in contact with the exiled Joakim Noah, and he came away with the following impression: Noah wants back on the court.
“I know Jo’ wants to play. He wants to help win. He’s a great dude,” said Butler, who was teammates with Noah for five seasons in Chicago. “I talked to him a little bit, not a lot. All in all, I want him to be happy. Because you can’t go to work every day, being with the same people every day, if you’re not happy. That’s not good for anybody.”
Noah was banished from the Knicks after an altercation with coach Jeff Hornacek during a practice last month. The disagreement stemmed from Noah’s lack of playing time, and it turned physical the day after he logged only five minutes against the Warriors.
While no punches were thrown, the Daily News learned that Hornacek was the first to shove Noah before they had to be separated.
The Knicks, who have described the separation as mutual, tried to deal Noah but his enormous contract is too prohibitive.
Another option is waive Noah, but the Knicks have been against a buyout. If Noah waived, he’ll be a free agent and the Timberwolves — with Butler — will likely be one of the interested teams.
“If he’s saying he can play, he can play,” Butler said. “He’s got it in him. I know he’s working right now to get back out there out there and help. With whatever team.”