Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah should move on this summer. He has apparently been telling teammates that he’s ready to leave the franchise, and it’s really unfortunate that things went this way. An unnamed player quoted in a Chicago Sun-Times report said that Noah “has no trust in the front office getting this in the right direction.”
There is a team that should be interested in the center, though, and that is the Atlanta Hawks. They are a franchise in desperate need of a player like Noah due to his defense, passing, rebounding and hustle. Noah has spent his entire nine-year career with the Bulls, and he was their emotional leader even when Derrick Rose was in MVP form. But it all took a turn last season after former head coach Tom Thibodeau was fired.
Noah didn’t get along with the new head coach Fred Hoiberg, and this was mainly because of a communication issue. Hoiberg claimed to ESPN’s Zach Lowe that Noah asked to come off of the bench last season, and this wasn’t true. Understandably, Noah took offense to this, and it will be interesting to see if it changes his value this offseason. Bulls management is adamant that they want to bring him back, but it doesn’t look good at the moment.
“Anyone who has been around us, anybody who has spoken to either [general manager Gar Forman] or I about Joakim, they know how we feel about him,” Vice President of Basketball Operations John Paxson said to ESPN. “He represents a lot of things that we believe in. To me, he’s one of the most genuine people I’ve ever been around in this business, as far as people go. So we have an affinity for Jo. But we’ve got to talk, we’ve got to see where it goes.”
It will go nowhere. Noah understands that the team he was on last year had too much talent to miss the playoffs, and there is something fundamentally wrong with the organization right now. He should jump ship for a lot of reasons. The Hawks would be a great destination, because he could be reunited with his former college teammate Al Horford, who happens to also be a free agent this summer. Noah injured his shoulder in January, but the Hawks should still seriously consider signing him to a long-term contract.