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Report: Knicks looking to deal Mindaugas Kuzminskas with Joakim Noah’s return

Through the first couple of weeks of the season, the New York Knicks have been without the services of veteran center Joakim Noah due to serving the final 10 games of his 20 game suspension due to violating the league’s performance-enhancing drug policy.

The eventual return for the former All-Star big man has pushed the Knicks to look into trading away forward Mindaugas Kuzminskas, according to Ian Begley of ESPN.

To that end, the club has contacted teams recently to gauge interest in forward Mindaugas Kuzminskas, opposing executives told ESPN. The interest level in Kuzminskas, who hasn’t been part of the Knicks’ rotation this season, is unclear. It’s worth noting that Kuzminskas, 28, was productive when given minutes last season (he averaged 6.0 points, 1.9 rebounds, 1.0 assists in 15 minutes per game) and that he had a strong showing for Lithuania in the European Championships.

The 28-year-old has yet to crack the rotation this season as he’s been essentially a healthy scratch through the first nine games. He did play in 68 games last year with five starts while averaging 6.0 points, 1.9 rebounds, and 1.0 assists in 14.9 minutes per game.

His lack of consistent role has made him an expendable piece along with the fact that Noah is about to make his return further complicates things for this matter. Kuzminskas is currently in the second year of his two-year, $5.9 million deal that includes the option for a $3.7 million qualifying offer to make him a restricted free agent next summer.

Ultimately, the Knicks will get a better sense of things once Noah is back in the mix, which will allow them to determine if this the path that will still want to go down.