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Joakim Noah hasn’t spoken publicly since Bulls traded Luol Deng

Jan 11, 2014, 11:00 AM EDT

Chicago Bulls v Brooklyn Nets Getty Images

The Bulls are a unique team that’s had a core group of players together for enough time under head coach Tom Thibodeau to where they all had bought in on the common goal of playing for each other.

That became more difficult in Chicago recently, after the Bulls made a trade that wasn’t meant to improve the club for this season, but rather to save some short-term money and put the team in a better situation for years in the future.

The concept apparently isn’t sitting well with Joakim Noah, who is in his seventh season with the Bulls and has played every one of them with Luol Deng as a teammate. Now that Deng has been dealt to Cleveland in exchange for nothing but salary savings and a future draft pick, Noah has avoided speaking to the media about it at all costs.

From Teddy Greenstein of the Chicago Tribune:

Another day, another media blow-off by Joakim Noah, who has not spoken publicly since the Bulls traded his friend and former teammate, Luol Deng, to Cleveland.

It was believed that he would address the media – all of four Chicago-based reporters – after the Bulls’ Friday morning shootaround at the Bradley Center. But Noah told a team official that he would remain mute.

It begs the question: Just how angry is Noah? And is his silent act hindering the Bulls in their effort to turn the page on the deal?

When guys on a team commit the way Thibodeau has gotten his players to in Chicago, it’s difficult for them to see things outside of their day-to-day world, and deal with the big picture reality instead.

The Bulls weren’t winning anything this season without Derrick Rose; the best-case scenario would have been a gutsy run similar to what last year’s squad put together, except the team as currently constructed doesn’t possess the same offensive weapons.

The only logical choice for the franchise was to move Deng, get under the luxury tax line for this season, avoid paying the devastating repeater tax in future years, and plan for the future. That’s a hard pill for a competitor like Noah to swallow, so if he is indeed having difficulty adjusting, it’s probably best to avoid reporters for now.

  1. spthegr8 - Jan 11, 2014 at 11:03 AM

    Joakim is the kind of guy you want on your team!!

    • 00maltliquor - Jan 11, 2014 at 12:49 PM

      Exactly! He’s one of my favorite players in the entire league. I think he’s exactly what every team needs.

      • kanemoney - Jan 13, 2014 at 1:39 AM

        Agreed and I don’t like the Bulls.

    • delyce22 - Jan 12, 2014 at 11:14 AM

      Joakim is a hard wrorker and a great teammate. Who wouldn’t want to have him on their team?

  2. apkyletexas - Jan 11, 2014 at 12:03 PM

    So is anyone going to write an article on HOW this trade did not violate the “integrity of the game”?

    The Bulls dumped their best healthy player mid-season, in an effort to get worse. It boggles my mind that they can get away with that. Especially when you consider the precedent of Stern nixing the Chris Paul trade to the Lakers.

    • spthegr8 - Jan 11, 2014 at 1:39 PM

      ^^^^ Deng isn’t better than Noah, Sorry!! Noah brings WAAAAAY more too the table then Deng ever did!!^^^

      • spthegr8 - Jan 11, 2014 at 1:40 PM

        & The reason they traded Deng is because he turned down an extension and that convinced the Bulls he was gone in the off season. Just Saying!!!

      • blueintown - Jan 12, 2014 at 12:00 AM

        That is shockingly wrong.

      • stayhigh_247 - Jan 12, 2014 at 2:22 AM

        dude you couldn’t be more wrong. as much as I love Noahs energy, Deng rarely takes nights off, playing both ends of the floor, guarding the best wing on the opposing team night in night out. they each bring different things to the game, but to say exclaim that Noah is solo much better is a ridiculous statement.

    • kindasporty - Jan 11, 2014 at 1:58 PM

      The objective is to win the championship. If you aren’t in position to win a championship this season, then you put yourself in position to win it next season. The Bulls were not in position to win it this season. This trade helps get them closer to being in position next season.

    • philtration - Jan 12, 2014 at 12:16 AM

      The Bulls did not “dump” Deng.
      They learned their lesson the hard way by letting former 1st round picks Omer Asik and Ben Gordon walk away and the team getting nothing in return.
      Not learning from your mistakes may be fine for teams like the Knicks but at some point you have to avoid making the same foolish mistakes over and over.

  3. adwilson87 - Jan 11, 2014 at 12:24 PM

    In today’s NBA, trading for equal on court value is rare. The Bulls claim to have offered him a an extension that he declined. The Bulls can play the card that he was gonna leave the team in free agency this summer so they got something now. Yes they are worse now, but tell me what team would offer current equal value for Luol Deng right now and what would that be

    • apkyletexas - Jan 11, 2014 at 1:02 PM

      It would be one thing if they traded him for an expiring contract of a player that they kept for the rest of the year. At least they could kind of argue that they got someone in return to fill his role.

      But they made the trade knowing ahead of time that they were going to dump Bynum, and that they were planning to get worse. How does that not violate the “integrity of the game”.

      I thought the “integrity” policy was that you had to try to be as competitive as you could – you were not allowed to obviously dump games. Clearly some teams dump games at the end of every season to improve their lottery chances – but this is dumping games mid-season – much different story.

      No wonder Noah is pissed. I’d tell them to go ahead and trade me too. Maybe he could go over to Cleveland, and they would have a pretty good roster.

      • casualcommenter - Jan 11, 2014 at 2:00 PM

        The Bulls got future draft picks.

        Getting future draft picks for a player who was unwilling to stay at the price you’re willing to pay is smart because it’s better than getting nothing.

        The end.

      • spursareold - Jan 12, 2014 at 10:56 AM

        I think you’d have a point if Deng had years left on his contract, but it was pretty clear that he was leaving this summer. In that case, you take what you can get: picks and salary relief.

  4. tampajoey - Jan 11, 2014 at 12:42 PM

    After what Lebron did to the Cavs no team should be scrutinized for trading an upcoming free agent. At least the Bulls received cap relief and draft picks and won’t be burned left with nothing like the Cavs when Lebron bolted. No team wants to be Lebron’ed.

    • casualcommenter - Jan 11, 2014 at 2:02 PM

      ^This. Not sure why he keeps bringing up “The integrity of the game.” This was a very logical move for the Bulls to make, and yes, get future assets including a future first round pick does make this a good move for basketball reasons, not just financial reasons.

      They made a good faith offer to Deng – $10+ million per year given his age and skillset is very fair. Deng refused, so they got what they could for Deng. Not really complicated, and I’m not even a Bulls fan.

    • chargerdillon - Jan 11, 2014 at 2:27 PM

      After what Lebron did? He became a free agent and got to decide where he wanted to play. The fact that he was from Cleveland and WANTED to be there speaks volumes to how pathetic the GM/Coach situation is in Cleveland.

      It is every players right to decide their fate after they have served their time with the team that drafted them first. That’s the point of free agency.

      Lebron did nothing wrong, and history will tell you Lebron made the right choice.

  5. johngalt1783 - Jan 11, 2014 at 1:15 PM

    If the NBA didn’t have the rule that required players and coaches to make themselves avaialble to the media there would be a lot blow-off of the NBA and their quesitons. I begin to remember all the times tha Kobe has had to deal with totally ridiculous questions from the NBA media. Some have been so bad Kobe has had the NBA media person who asked question tossed from the room.

    Now that the Raptors have won some, Casey is having to deal with totally absurd questions from the Raptors media. Even Ujiri has had to put up with it. Both have gone so far as to respond by subtling saying to the reporter that their question was stupid.

    I don’t blame Noah one bit for not wanting to talk with the NBA media. In fact he probably would never talk with them if he could get away with it.

  6. slaugin - Jan 11, 2014 at 1:51 PM

    I think the top 3 picks of the draft should go to the teams with the best record that missed the playoffs, than after that they can do the lottery. This will make teams from completely tanking their season and fans something to cheer about

  7. casualcommenter - Jan 11, 2014 at 2:03 PM

    Not a surprise. After last season, he vowed that the Bulls would be ready to take on the Heat this year. Just a few months later, his team lost Derrick Rose to a second injury and traded away one of their 3 best players since he was unwilling to stay at the price they were willing to play.

    I’d be frustrated in his situation, too.

    • johngalt1783 - Jan 11, 2014 at 2:23 PM

      I think it is only a temporary situtation. Noah is very emotional and he will work through his emoitons on this.

      Bulls are actually not in too bad a situation going forward if they can dump Booser his coming summer. With Rose returning and a possible lottery pick in June they could be back in the thick of things next season if they can land one of the top FA that will become available next summer.

  8. tmdill18 - Jan 11, 2014 at 2:45 PM

    As a Pacer fan, I’d like to thank the Bulls for trading Deng. He guards Paul George better than anyone in the East. PG will break loose against the Bulls. Yes, Deng is still in the East. But Cleveland doesn’t have enough to go with him to give the Pacers problems.

  9. spliff219 - Jan 11, 2014 at 3:13 PM

    As a Bulls fan im glad they got picks and relief for deng and im really gonna be happy when they amnesty boozer. We allready got jimmy butler whos getting better and better. These moves will give us the funds and the assets to get a Scoring SG to go with D-Rose in the backcourt. Noah just needs to keep his feet healthy and we need to give Taj all the playing time he can handle. A couple smart moves need to be made and we are going for the title next year and years to come

  10. antistratfordian - Jan 11, 2014 at 10:42 PM

    He needs to keep the streak going!

  11. lhollis74 - Jan 12, 2014 at 1:56 AM

    Even as far back as the MJ days, I have no respect for the bulls ownership/management team. They are not to be trusted, they offered him something like $10 mil when the going rate for his services was widely known to be in the $15 mil range, knowing anybody with any business sense would turn down that offer. What, you think when he turned it down they all of a sudden decided to instead trade him for a player they fully intended to waive before the deal was finalized!? Bulls management went into the negotiations with deng hoping to rid themselves of him. Noah understands fully understands this, hence the silent treatment. Even Tibbs is reported unhappy with this deal. Professionals with any sense of personal pride, while they know maybe they won’t or can’t win the championship this year, do take pleasure in competing and trying to win on a day to day basis.

    • sadafan - Jan 12, 2014 at 9:30 AM

      Most intelligent analysis I’ve heard from a commenter to date regarding the Bulls Management. This is a cut-throat organization. If I were Rose, Thibs or Noah, I would get out ASAP. They and Chicago fans deserve better.

    • spursareold - Jan 12, 2014 at 11:32 AM

      We’ll see what Deng gets this summer, but I’m willing to bet it’s closer to $10M than $15M. A comparable would be Gerald Wallace. Deng will be about the age that Wallace was when he got his deal, and they’re close to the same player profile, D up guys with limited shooting and creating abilities.

      I don’t think it was all about the money. I think Deng was angry about his shoddy medical treatment by the Bulls medical staff last year, before and during the playoffs.

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