Another piece from the Phil Jackson era is gone in order to make room for Joakim Noah.
The New York Knicks waived forward Mindaugas Kuzminskas after Joakim Noah joined the team, serving the remainder of his 20-game suspension imposed towards the end of last season. Kuzminskas, who only played a few minutes in the Orlando Magic game this season, was waived to make room for Noah on the 15- (or 17 if you include two-way contracts) man roster.
Kuzminskas fell out of the rotation this season, out of favor with head coach Jeff Hornacek, and seemingly a remnant of former president Phil Jackson’s regime. Jackson signed the Lithuanian NBA rookie in the summer of 2016, Mindaugas’ first contract across the Atlantic at the ripe age of 27 years old. While Kuz’s shot was inconsistent, his rookie campaign featured some electrifying minutes off the bench, and even five starts in 68 games. Kuz averaged 6.3 points on 42.8 percent shooting from the field, per Basketball-Reference.
Nonetheless, with the issue of Joakim Noah returning of suspension, Kuz, 28, was an obvious candidate to be waived; he fell out of the rotation, he didn’t exactly fit in GM Scott Perry’s youth movement strategy, and he represented the failed former front office regime of Jackson.
In a press release statement, Perry said, “[Kuzminskas’] professionalism and work ethic were greatly appreciated by his teammates, coaches, and the entire staff.” Perry added that the decision was “extremely tough” to waive Kuz.