Knicks waive Brandon Jennings, lose Joakim Noah to surgery
NEW YORK (AP) — Brandon Jennings is gone and Joakim Noah had knee surgery.
If the New York Knicks are going to make a playoff push, it will come without two of the key veterans they signed last summer.
Jennings was waived Monday and the Knicks signed guard Chasson Randle to replace him.
Noah had a left knee arthroscopy later in the day to remove a loose body. The Knicks said he will be re-evaluated in three to four weeks.
The Knicks signed both veterans along with Courtney Lee, and combined with the trade for Derrick Rose, hoped they had assembled a playoff team. But they are 24-35 and four games behind eighth-place Detroit entering their game Monday night against Toronto.
Jennings averaged 8.6 points and a team-high 4.9 assists in 58 games, mostly as the backup to Derrick Rose. But the Knicks are again focusing more on the triangle offense, which isn’t Jennings’ strength.
Charley Rosen, a longtime confidante of Knicks President of Basketball Operations Phil Jackson, wrote Sunday on Fanragsports.com that Jennings “resists the triangle” and is a “profound disappointment” because of his erratic play.
But coach Jeff Hornacek said the issue was playing time, not playing style.
“Brandon obviously wanted to play more minutes here,” Hornacek said. “With Derrick out there, it made it awfully tough, so maybe this gives him an opportunity to get somewhere where he can play some more minutes.”
Jennings signed a one-year deal worth $5 million last summer, saying Jackson told the veteran he expected him to be Sixth Man of the Year.
Since he was waived before the March 1 deadline, Jennings will be eligible to sign with another team and play in the postseason.
Noah has battled injuries and illness since signing a four-year, $72 million contract. He has been sidelined most recently with a hamstring injury that Hornacek said the center aggravated while working out during the All-Star break.
Hornacek said Monday that Noah woke up recently in pain, so he had an MRI exam which revealed the knee injury.
Randle was cut by the Knicks in the preseason and went on to play eight games with the Philadelphia 76ers.