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Joakim Noah is happy for LeBron, but hopes Bulls ‘can kick his a– as many times as possible’

Jul 25, 2014, 7:45 PM EDT

Chicago Bulls v Atlanta Hawks Getty Images

Joakim Noah once referred to themHeat as being “Hollywood as hell” after losing to them in the 2011 playoffs, so he probably wasn’t all that broken up about LeBron James leaving Miami to return to the Cavaliers this summer.

But no matter where LeBron plays (or who the perceived favorites in the East might be), Noah is always ready to welcome the challenge of competing against him.

From K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune:

“I’m happy for LeBron James,” Noah said Friday. “He gets to go home. People are happy over there. But I really hope that we can kick his ass as many times as possible.”

Noah spoke at an event by his Noah’s Arc Foundation on the city’s West Side. And even with James moving from the Miami Heat to the Cleveland Cavaliers, Noah is fired up about the Bulls’ potential.

“Even when we sucked, I always felt like we had championship aspirations,” he said. “I don’t go into a game thinking we’re going to lose. Ever. I don’t care who we play against. But obviously, a lot of things need to go your way to win a championship. You have to be lucky. The chemistry has to be great.

“We feel like we’ve dealt with a lot of adversity. I think that that adversity will help us in the long run. Our team is hungry. Our team is working hours in the middle of the summer, guys are working out every day. Only time will tell. But it’s exciting.”

The Bulls added Pau Gasol and Nikola Mirotic to the roster, and drafted a rookie shooter in Doug McDermott who should be able to contribute immediately as part of the rotation — all legitimate reasons for Noah to be excited about the upcoming season.

The biggest piece that has yet to settle is Kevin Love, of course, who the Bulls and the Cavaliers are both targeting by putting together offers to try to strike a deal in a trade with Minnesota.

Noah’s comments won’t be bulletin board material in Cleveland, nor should they be. It’s refreshing to hear players speak in phrases that aren’t tiresome platitudes, and we can only hope that more of them choose to do the same once they realize that they’re only providing entertainment to the fans, and not enraging their competition by doing so.

  1. antistratfordian - Jul 25, 2014 at 7:52 PM

    Hell will freeze over before the Bulls beat LeBron in the playoffs. Probably. James is 12-3 in the playoffs vs Chicago.

    • scorp16 - Jul 25, 2014 at 8:12 PM

      Yeah but 8 of those wins were on a team he no longer plays for. I do think you hit it right on the head with your comment of Chicago vs LeBron because that is exactly what it is going to be. Irving plays no defense, neither does Love. You already know what The Bulls are going to bring defensively. Gasol will negate Love, Rose will negate Irving, Noah will eat up Verajao and Haywood. Chicago is deeper. LeBron will need to average 40 a game to have a shot.

      • muhangis - Jul 25, 2014 at 8:22 PM

        There is also a thing called offense to.

      • antistratfordian - Jul 25, 2014 at 8:29 PM

        Meh. LeBron owns the Bulls regardless of the situation. His average in the United Center is higher than MJ’s – 29.9 vs 28.2. I believe it is the highest scoring average in the building. And according to Elias, LeBron has the highest scoring average against the Bulls in NBA history.

        When James plays Chicago he knows he’s playing against the ghost of MJ – which is probably why he dominates them.

      • scorp16 - Jul 25, 2014 at 8:30 PM

        There is. But if you score 20 but the guy you are guarding scores 24……..You need to make up those points somewhere. If your second and third options get played even or out scored you better hope you have the better bench…which CLE does not. Otherwise LeBron needs to have some monster games which he is capable of but is he going to be able to do that consistently against Chicago’s defense?

      • antistratfordian - Jul 25, 2014 at 8:36 PM

        Hey, scorp – Rose and Gasol aren’t good defenders either. Neither was Boozer.

        Cleveland’s defense will be fine as long as they have LeBron anchoring it. When’s the last time you’ve seen James on a bad defensive team? Even with scrubs during his first time around his teams were still good defensively. So the Cavs defense will be fine. They were 17th without LeBron – they could be in the top 10 with him.

      • scorp16 - Jul 25, 2014 at 8:45 PM

        Anti – And Chicago led the league in defense. Cle better hope to be a top 10 defensive team next year because the Bulls will be improved offensively.

      • antistratfordian - Jul 25, 2014 at 8:50 PM

        No, Chicago was 2nd. But that doesn’t matter because they have never been able to stop LeBron, so their ranking is irrelevant. When they play LBJ their defense ranks about 12th.

      • scorp16 - Jul 25, 2014 at 8:53 PM

        San Antonio didn’t stop LeBron in the Finals either. Yet he lost the last 3 games of that series by 20 per game…Go figure

      • antistratfordian - Jul 25, 2014 at 8:55 PM

        San Antonio has an offense – a pretty great one. If Chicago had one, maybe it would be different. But it’s not hard to outscore the Bulls.

      • muhangis - Jul 25, 2014 at 10:33 PM

        As a lifelong Laker fan and seeing plenty of their games, big man Pau Gasol is the softest defender I’ve witnessed in awhile. Yet the Bulls chose him.

      • MiaMarino - Jul 26, 2014 at 5:23 AM

        Does Derrick Rose still play basketball?

      • chicagosports2014 - Jul 26, 2014 at 6:35 AM

        “Joah, said “Cleveland”!. Ain’t nobody going there for vacation!”


  2. cluelessdufus - Jul 25, 2014 at 7:59 PM

    As a Bulls fan, Noah is the new leader. Rose needs to comeback healthy and contribute similar to his old form. Noah did so much last year that he and Howard are the 2 best centers in the game. Luckily if Rose fails we have new players that can step up offensively.

    • jerze2387 - Jul 25, 2014 at 8:34 PM

      Spot on. Noah is the heart of that team. he carried them when Rose was down for the last 2 years, has played hurt, and has earned respect. Hes also much more vocal than Rose, which is sometimes needed of a leader.

      The irony is when they drafted him i thought he was a d-bag and was a huge Rose fan. but hes found his way to being my fave player on the Bulls, and possibly in the league by working hard and handling his business. And now im part of the anti–Rose camp. hes the polar opposite of Noah in every way.

  3. dls612 - Jul 25, 2014 at 8:08 PM

    And all this time I thought he hated the heat but it’s LeBron he hates!

    • fanofthegame79 - Jul 25, 2014 at 9:20 PM

      I wonder if it’s jealousy? I bet he’d love to play with LeBron though.

  4. 88heatnation - Jul 25, 2014 at 8:20 PM

    True competitor.

  5. marbulz - Jul 25, 2014 at 8:29 PM

    Joakim Noah can also go home to Brooklyn as soon as all those expensive overpriced contracts expire

  6. polkhigh4life - Jul 25, 2014 at 8:47 PM

    ^^^^^ wow….I hope you guys hate Peyton manning Chris Paul and every other player in the history of sports that has an injury….I wanna know why he ain’t a good defender

  7. edavidberg - Jul 25, 2014 at 10:00 PM

    The Bulls are better than the Cavs if they don’t get Love.

  8. campcouch - Jul 25, 2014 at 10:04 PM

    Noah needs to stop running off at the jibs. One trip to the ECF in 7 years of play, bounced out of the playoffs the three times he played against James (12-3).

  9. mnsadsportsfan - Jul 26, 2014 at 7:13 AM

    The bulls would be making a mistake if they got love.

  10. rodge1 - Jul 26, 2014 at 8:36 AM

    So the same Bulls team that got bounced out of the playoffs by the Wizards is supposed to be great now that they signed Gasol?… Don’t even start with Rose being back a reason they’ll be great either because he’s basically Gilbert Arenas now.

  11. imakcds - Jul 26, 2014 at 10:43 AM

    Do any of you realize that Joakim Noah is just the type of player that Pau Gasol NEEDS?
    If Noah does what Noah does, you will see the Pau of old, his numbers will escalate.

  12. marbulz - Jul 26, 2014 at 12:07 PM

    Joakim Noah should go back home to Brooklyn after his contract is up and it would be perfect timing when all the big contracts Brooklyn expire. On top of that his numbers are outstanding when he plays in Brooklyn

  13. doctordunkenstein - Jul 26, 2014 at 12:15 PM

    Joakim is obsessed with lebron..hated hard on Cleveland until lebron left, forgot about them for About 4 years and hated the heat, and now he’s hating the cavs again. if lbj went to the bulls he’d probably hate his own team

  14. lazegowizfan95 - Jul 26, 2014 at 6:07 PM

    Sometimes I feel bad for the Bulls players and fans because they always think Bulls have a shot at the finals it’s all up to Rose’s health though hopefully he can stay healthy I really want to see Bulls, Wizards, Cavs, Hornets, Raptors, and Heat all healthy when playoff time should be a great season next year.

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