Following a disappointing 2015-16 campaign that saw Chicago miss the playoffs for the first time in 8 years, the Bulls are in for a wild ride of an offseason.
Honestly, it’s tough to determine who is exactly safe from being dealt – pretty much everyone on the roster has an uncertain status moving forward. Joakim Noah, the team’s heart and soul for nine years, could be the first Bull to don a new jersey this offseason.
According to Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times, Noah has privately told teammates that he’s dissatisfied with the direction management is going in and will not re-sign with Chicago this summer. Now, since there isn’t a direct quote from Noah (or his camp), it’s very difficult to determine his exact feelings on the matter and if there’s even a minuscule possibility for a return.
However, anyone who’s followed the Bulls for the past decade realizes there’s somewhat of a divide between management & the players, as well as the front office’s inability to acquire talent, defend its roster, and make sound hires to the staff.
Noah’s situation, in particular, is interesting. Here’s a guy (*Chris Collinsworth voice*) coming off knee surgery entering this past season. Then, he’s limited to 29 games because of a nasty shoulder injury and averaged career-lows in points (4.3) and FG% (38%).
Delegated to a bench role, Noah’s value plummeted and is as low as ever. To make things worse, Noah has no reason to trust management given their handling of Derrick Rose, firing of Tom Thibodeau and questionable roster moves. Noah’s distaste with the way Rose’s injuries were handled is strictly speculation – I don’t have an inside scoop on the matter, just presenting it as an example.
But with the way Rose was thrown under the bus (at times) by the organization, and given how vehemently Noah supported his teammate in the media, there’s a chance that’s where the dissension began.
Everything considered, it’s time for a divorce. Noah’s role on the team has diminished, you don’t want to overpay for a 31-year old big coming off season-ending surgery, and Jo will have plenty of suitors looking for a top notch, complementary big.
A fresh start for Noah and a fresh start for management.
Looks like an ever-so-mild win-win on both sides.