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Though ban is over, Joakim Noah remains inactive for Knicks

From left, Michael Beasley, Enes Kanter, Joakim Noah,

From left, Michael Beasley, Enes Kanter, Joakim Noah, Willy Hernangomez, Kristaps Porzingis and Jarrett Jack of the Knicks look on from the bench against the Cavaliers at Madison Square Garden on Monday, Nov. 13, 2017. Credit: Jim McIsaac

Joakim Noah went through a long workout and then rushed off the court for a team meeting. This could be the $72-million man’s game-night routine for the foreseeable future.

Noah has been on the inactive list both games he’s been eligible to play and that doesn’t seem it will change anytime soon.

“With the amount of centers we can’t even really find a lot of minutes for Willy [Hernangomez],” coach Jeff Hornacek said. “We’ll just have to play it by ear and see where it goes.”

Noah was suspended the first 12 games of the season, as he completed serving his 20-game ban levied last season for violating the NBA’s anti-drug policy. The first two games he’s been eligible to play, he’s been inactive. Hornacek is happy with how centers Enes Kanter and Kyle O’Quinn have performed.

Noah didn’t comment, but Hornacek said the former All-Star and Defensive Player of the Year, who was voted the team’s defensive captain, has handled the situation professionally.

“Jo’s a great team guy,” Hornacek said. “He wants us to win. He sees how they’re playing right now. He doesn’t want to have to rock the boat but he is competitive and he wants to be out there to help us.”

Hornacek said he’s not a fan of the inactive list. Only 13 players are allowed to be active for games.

“I think the NBA should not have an inactive list,” he said. “They have 15 guys on the roster, make 15 spots on the bench. Because then you have games where maybe you can get everybody in, get them some run. But then you have two guys that are inactive. It’s a tough spot. But Jo’s a professional. He’s continuing to work hard and wait for his time.”

Let’s talk

Knicks president Steve Mills and general manager Scott Perry spoke at length with Kristaps Porzingis’ brother Janis on the court before the game. Janis, who also serves as Kristaps’ agent, recently told a Latvian magazine that there are no guarantees his brother will sign a long-term extension with the Knicks this summer.

Perry said last week that he believes Porzingis is “happy with this team. We’ll deal with all that stuff later. But no comment in terms of what was said because I really don’t know.”

After excerpts of the article came out, Porzingis said, “I’m here in New York, I love New York and I see myself as a Knick for a long, long time.”

High on Mitchell

The Knicks took Frank Ntilikina with the No. 8 overall pick, but they considered going with Donovan Mitchell, who went 13th to Utah and has impressed Hornacek.

“We liked him when he came out for a workout here,” he said. “He’s a strong kid. He knows how to play. Just watching tape of the games now, you see he’s got little tricks that veterans usually acquire after some years. He’s stepped right in there and I think he plays with great confidence. He’s got the strength, he’s got big hands, he’s got long arms. He’s off to a great start.”

New York Sports