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Clippers to sign center Joakim Noah

The 35-year-old center will take the team’s 15th roster spot.

LA Clippers v Memphis Grizzlies Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images

After months of rumors, including a preseason workout reportedly gone awry, the Clippers and Joakim Noah could no longer stay apart.

Noah will sign with the Clippers as the team’s third center, as reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. LA had an open roster spot after trading away three players at the trade deadline and only taking back one. They filled one of those empty slots with Reggie Jackson on the buyout market, and now it appears that Noah will be the 15th player.

As Woj notes, Noah is a two-time Eastern Conference All-Star who advanced to the conference finals once while with the Chicago Bulls in 2011. He most recently played for the Memphis Grizzlies last season, averaging 7.1 points and 5.7 rebounds in 16.5 minutes per game. Noah was unable to start this season on an NBA roster after suffering a “significant injury” over the summer that was potentially career-threatening.

In his heyday, Noah was a superb defensive center, winning Defensive Player of the Year in 2014 and earning all-Defense honors three times. He was an outstanding offensive rebounder and passer for his position, though his overall offense and left a little something to be desired, in part due to his unorthodox shooting form.

The Clippers have reportedly been angling for another big to help them contend with the size of the Los Angeles Lakers and Philadelphia 76ers, among other teams. That concern seemed a little overblown, especially given the team’s 2-0 record against the Lakers, newly-acquired ability to go small, and recent domination of Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets. Starting center Ivica Zubac has been on a tear of late as well, as he hasn’t missed a shot from the field in four games.

The team clearly views Noah as an insurance policy for the two existing centers on the roster: Zubac and Harrell. As such, Noah will begin his stint on the Clippers on a 10-day contract. As a reminder, players are allowed to sign two 10-day contracts with a team before they have to be converted to a deal for the remainder of the season.

It would be hard to look at the Clippers right now and conclude that they need help in any way, but Noah is a proven playoff performer who is at the point in his career where he will do anything to win. His presence on the team can only be a boon.