The New York Knicks have reportedly emerged as the strong favorite to sign free agent center Joakim Noah, with an expected salary of $18 million per year.

It’s a huge gamble for the franchise. New York has a bigger need at shooting guard, specifically a three-and-D type, and the 31-year-old Noah is coming off a season riddled with medical issues — including two significant shoulder injuries that limited him to 29 games. Noah averaged 4.3 points and 8.8 rebounds per game, far from the near double-doubles he used to provide the Bulls from 2009 to 2014, and produced 1.6 wins above replacement, a tenth of his high in 2013-14 when he won the NBA defensive player of the year award.

However, for a team that is insistent on running some form of the triangle offense, Noah (if healthy) could be a good fit.

Noah has always struggled to stay on the court, but he played 67 games during the 2014-15 season, and his ability to pass the ball during that time elevated his scoring efficiency. In transition, he scored just 0.83 points per possession, but lifted that up to 1.5 points per possession when accounting for his passing. In the half-court sets, his scoring efficiency went from 0.75 to 1.2 points per possession after including his assists.

This ability to create ball movement led then-Coach Tom Thibodeau to have Noah run the Bulls’ “point-center offense.” Fansided contributor Michael Kanoy explains that it’s a variation of the triangle in which Noah positioned himself “at the high post (top of the key) and looks for back-cutting players or shooters who get open off screening traps (elevator) or movement traps (Hoiball).”

Point guard Derrick Rose, whom New York acquired for center Robin Lopez along with guards Jose Calderon and Jerian Grant, was also part of that triangle offense under Thibodeau, giving New York a sense of familiarity with so many new faces on the roster for the upcoming season.

In this example from 2015 against Miami, Noah sets a screen for Rose before running a pinch post — a play designed to utilize the high post on the help side of the floor when passing out of the triangle — before setting another screen for Rose on his way to the basket for the dunk.

Here’s another example of the Bulls’ version of the triangle from a 2014 game against the Knicks, in which Noah finds a cutting Carlos Boozer for an easy two-point play.

No deals can be officially signed until July 7, but if the Knicks are going to spend money on a big-name free agent center instead of a shooting guard, Noah, a former all-star, certainly does make sense.

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