Joakim Noah wasn’t a centerpiece of the 2019-20 L.A. Clippers, but the veteran big man provided depth and leadership for a title contender as recently as just a few months ago. However, Noah’s lengthy NBA career could be over, as ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports that 35-year-old was waived by the Clippers and is “likely headed toward retirement” as a result.
Clippers are waiving center Joakim Noah — and his agent, Bill Duffy of @BDA_Sports, tells ESPN that Noah is “likely headed toward retirement.” One of his era’s most ferocious competitors, Noah played 13 seasons, made two All-Star games and was a 3-time All-Defensive team choice.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) December 2, 2020
Noah was the No. 9 pick in the 2007 NBA Draft, navigating a 13-year career that included two All-Star appearances, three All-Defense selections, and the 2013-14 NBA Defensive Player of the Year award.
“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 shared with ESPN. “It’s been my honor to represent Joakim through his journey.”
During a five-year peak from 2009-10 through 2013-14 with the Chicago Bulls, Noah averaged 11.5 points, 10.8 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.6 blocks per game, providing useful offensive contributions and an elite-level defense. In fact, he earned an All-NBA selection in 2013-14, peaking as an offensive player in averaging 12.6 points, 11.3 rebounds and a whopping 5.4 assists per game from the center position. He was also the 2014 NBA Defensive Player of the Year and a first-team All-NBA selection.
Though his career slowed considerably after Noah signed with the New York Knicks prior to the 2016-17 season, he remained well-regarded and is a highly decorated college player, dominating alongside Al Horford and Corey Brewer at Florida.
It is highly unfortunate that Noah’s prime was cut short by injury, and he also suffered an Achilles injury in 2019 that limited him to just five regular season games and two playoff games during his final NBA season. Still, Noah’s unique blend of defense and style will be remembered well, and he enjoyed a fantastic professional career if this is indeed the end of the line.