HoopsHype Joakim Noah rumors

April 15, 2014 Updates
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Until becoming his teammate this season, Mike Dunleavy spent Joakim Noah's entire NBA career as a Central Division opponent. "I heard teammates say, 'I can't stand that guy,'" Dunleavy said. "I had a perception of him as a polarizing guy, one where teammates love him and opponents don't like him. A lot of it is because he plays so hard and a little because of his antics. "But I never really saw a reason to not like him. I just thought he always played hard and I didn't think anything about him was dirty. If a guy is dirty, then you have a reason to not like somebody. But because he claps or does whatever? I never looked at him in that light. I just respected how hard he played." Chicago Tribune

April 9, 2014 Updates

Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah says he will not play for France in this summer's World Cup of Basketball. "It wouldn't be fair first of all, for my teammates, to even think about anything past today," Noah told ESPNChicago.com after Wednesday's shootaround. "When the French people ask me about [playing], it's hard to predict what's going to happen next year, or in two years. I live my life day to day, and I feel like the NBA season is, it's brutal. To play all year, I think it's something that is too much for me. So definitely not this year." ESPN.com

April 8, 2014 Updates

Joakim Noah walked into his house after taking his dog to the park and plopped down on a chair in his living room. The room is filled with art created by his mother and a family friend. The art symbolizes life and energy, a perfect metaphor for the guy whose energetic passion for living is on display during every Chicago Bulls game. On a lazy Sunday afternoon, the Bulls' All-Star center was reminded he once said, "I'm not a very skilled player. I'm not talented." "I used to say I'm not gifted, but I take that back," Noah told USA TODAY Sports. "I feel more and more gifted, and I'm feeling more and more confident in what I'm doing and I feel I can still get better." USA Today Sports

If you ever watched the elder Noah play tennis, you see where Joakim's passion comes from. Two summers ago, the son watched his father's 1983 French Open final victory against Mats Wilander. "I was just surprised. I saw so many similarities in the way he played tennis and the way I play basketball," Noah said. "He was very aggressive in his approach and the way he played, and played with a fire that you didn't see often. He got the crowd into it and pumped up." USA Today Sports

April 6, 2014 Updates

Beyond the well-liked rookie staying in the NBA, Murphy's cap number of $490,180 comes off the Bulls' books. That would keep the Bulls out of the luxury tax even if Joakim Noah makes first-team All-NBA and earns a $500,000 bonus. Even if other performance bonuses are met, the Bulls should be clear. As reported, if the Bulls are slightly north of the luxury-tax threshold, they have plans in place to avoid the repeater tax. Chicago Tribune

Quietly, if that’s possible for Joakim Noah, the Bulls center has put together a remarkable season and deserves some Most Valuable Player votes. He is averaging a career-best 12.4 points, 11.1 rebounds, and a whopping 5.2 assists, double his average from two seasons ago. Noah had played in no more than 66 games over the previous four years until this season, during which he has played in all 74 games. His versatility, strong defense, and an agitating style make him one of the league’s premier centers. Noah is not going to overwhelm opponents with offense but he flourishes in most facets of the game, prompting coach Tom Thibodeau to ponder his candidacy for league MVP honors. “It depends on how you define it,” the former Celtics assistant said. “What he’s meant to our team over the course of the season. We faced a lot of adversity. He helped lift the team up. And he’s improved, I think significantly, offensively. The defense has always been great, the rebounding. And it’s more than just the passing, it’s his scoring now, making quicker decisions — I think that’s helped us a lot. But the most important thing is just helping us win.” Boston Globe

April 4, 2014 Updates

It doesn't matter to Noah whether you're an NBA All-Star, a future Hall of Famer, a street vendor, a beach bum, an art dealer or a witch doctor. It doesn't matter to him what color your skin is; he's biracial, though that's a term he wouldn't use. ("I don't like to categorize people," he said.) He plays basketball exactly that way. "He's different; he grew up different," teammate Carlos Boozer said. "He's a very free spirit and it works for him." CBSSports.com

His awkward, sideways-rotating, two-handed jump shot -- the "tornado," teammates call it -- goes in more often than it should; Noah's sweet spot is 16-24 feet from the left wing, where he's shooting 44 percent (29-for-66). He's leading the Bulls in rebounds per game (11.1) and blocks (1.5), but also in assists (5.2). Since Feb. 6, he's averaging 7.3 assists per game, as a 6-foot-11 center. His six games with 10 or more assists -- all since Feb. 6 -- are the most by an NBA center since Vlade Divac in 2003-04. CBSSports.com

A typical day? When he isn't immersed in basketball, it's a question of where on the globe Noah will be cavorting. He loves to travel, a result of his transcontinental upbringing. During the summer months, while drilling his footwork and working on his wacky jumper here at the Berto Center, Noah will tell Thibodeau that he's off to Hawaii for three weeks -- then show up right back here three days later to say, "Oh, I decided not to go." He visits Cameroon, where his grandfather -- former soccer player Zacharie Noah -- still lives. He feels at home in the easy, breezy bohemian enclave of Venice Beach, Calif., where he can kick back and breathe in the salty air, ocean views and contrasting opinions. CBSSports.com

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Chicago Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau, though, has a different take on the MVP race. The Bulls have not had an easy ride. It has been rocked by the season-ending injury of Derrick Rose and the dramatic trade of Luol Deng. But they still find themselves at 40-32 and the reputation as a team few want to face in the playoffs. Thibodeau credits this success to their intense man in the middle, Joakim Noah. “It depends on how you define [who deserves MVP consideration],” Thibodeau said. “For us, I think he does. What he’s meant to our team over the course of the season — we faced a lot of adversity. He helped lift the team up and he’s improved, I think, significantly offensively. The defense has always been great, the rebounding. And it’s more than just the passing. It’s his scoring now, making quicker decisions. I think that’s helped us a lot.” Basketball Insiders

Nick Friedell: Noah on Augustin: "I'm just happy he's with the Bulls. I think he found a home here and I hope he can stay for a long time." Twitter @NickFriedell

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