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Knicks GM Scott Perry sees value in Joakim Noah

Center’s professionalism, veteran presence impresses him.

Joakim Noah of the New York Knicks looks

Joakim Noah of the New York Knicks looks on from the bench against the Memphis Grizzlies at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017. Photo Credit: Jim McIsaac

CHICAGO — Knicks general manager Scott Perry said there will come a day when Joakim Noah will muscle himself past the three centers ahead of him on the depth chart — whether due to matchups, injuries, or the myriad other unpredictable things that can happen over a course of an 82-game season.

But Saturday? Saturday was not that day.

Noah, who’s only played 48 games since signing a four year, $72.5 million contract, was inactive Saturday against his old team, and despite Perry’s morning assertions that the Knicks still have room for their woe-begotten center.

“Jo has been a consummate pro,” Perry said. “[He’s] a guy who’s been used to playing for most of his career but he’s a professional example. The guy is coming before practice, staying after practice. He’s setting a good tone for the young guys to follow and what I know about him is that when his number is called, I think he’s going to be ready to help this ballclub in any way he can.”

Before shootaround — and before he learned he wouldn’t be dressing — Noah said that physically, he felt great, but acknowledged he likely would never return to the form he had in 2014, when he finished fourth in MVP voting as a Chicago Bull.

“But for me, it’s not about that,” he said. “I’m trying to get back on the court. It’s not about trying to do that. I know what my situation is. I’m not playing. Why are we talking about something that happened like five years ago? But I definitely feel I can help for sure.”

After serving a 20-game suspension for violating the league’s anti-drug policy, Noah has been something of a non-factor (12 of those games were served at the beginning of this season). He has played in only two games — a grand total of 11 minutes — and amassed five points and five rebounds in that span. Perry, though, insisted he sees Noah’s value.

“I like having some veteran people around to help a young team and I think his veteran experience is very helpful to have him around in the locker room,” he said. “As of right now, I’m very comfortable that he’s here . . . He’s done everything that we’ve asked of him and I think he’s embracing where he’s at in his career.”

Hardaway on schedule for re-evaluation

Perry said Tim Hardaway Jr., dealing with a stress injury in his left shin, is still on schedule to be re-evaluated in two weeks. Hardaway traveled with the team to Chicago.

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