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Paul Pierce: “I wouldn’t be surprised if [Joakim] Noah ends up there [Timberwolves] this year also. That would be an odd situation. That’d be kind of weird.”
Ian Begley: Assuming the Knicks don’t find a trade for Joakim Noah, opposing executives expect OKC and Minnesota to be among the teams interested in Noah if he’s waived or bought out by the Knicks, per sources. As of earlier this week, Noah remained opposed to a buyout, sources say.
Three other teams — the Knicks, Timberwolves and Bucks — are also planning to make substantial offers to Noah, who played only 29 games last season before suffering a shoulder injury. If the Bulls come calling, he probably won’t even take their call.
League sources tell Sporting News that Thibodeau has targeted Joakim Noah, who is an unrestricted free agent and has interest in leaving Chicago and re-joining Thibodeau. When they were together in Chicago, Noah developed and thrived under Thibodeau, finishing fourth in the MVP voting in 2013-14.
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September 20, 2018 | 9:58 pm EDT Update
So you mentioned the smoother lead up to the season perhaps giving you guys a more energetic vibe early. But do you still view motivation as the biggest challenge — keeping these guys motivated throughout the season? Steve Kerr: “Well, it’s inevitable when you’re staring at the long haul. It’s a nine-month season if you get to the Finals. It’s inevitable you’ll have to deal with some of that. I think this year presents some other challenges that are more healthy. For example: Fitting DeMarcus into the group once he’s ready to play will be a really good challenge for us. It’s an intellectual challenge for our guys because you’re not plugging in a standstill 3-point shooter. You’re plugging in an All-Star player who can dominate a game with the ball. It’s a bigger challenge to figure out how the piece fits and what combinations are going to work best. So I like the challenge and I think the players will embrace that challenge. Whereas last year always felt like autopilot. As long as we were healthy, we always kind of knew what we were going to do. We had a formula. We just kind of went for nine months. There will be more variety this year.”
Do you have any read on where DeMarcus is health-wise right now? I know he won’t be ready for the start of camp next week, but how much do you think he’ll be able to do, how much will be around the practice portions? Steve Kerr: “Well, he’s been around the last few weeks. He rehabbed in Las Vegas over the summer, but he’s been here (in the Bay Area) the last few weeks, settling into his new home and new life. He’s on the court every day working. He’s so skilled. He’s got such great hands, shoots the ball so well, fantastic passer. He’s been working on all that stuff. So he’ll do as much as he can during camp and that will be decided by our training staff, headed by Rick Celebrini and Drew Yoder. We’ll confer with them every day.”
There’s the typical way an NBA team signs a free agent: Team reaches out to said free agent, makes an offer and player accepts. And then there’s the Briante Weber way, the proactive path that led him back to South Florida for a second tour with the Heat. Weber, unemployed this summer after stints last season with Houston and Memphis, decided that the Heat would be the best place to jump-start his career. And so Weber made calls. Not one, not two, but enough to reach virtually everyone of importance he knew within the organization.
“I reached out to the whole Heat coaching staff from top to bottom,” Briante Weber said at Bam Adebayo’s culinary charity event last week. “I reached out to [Heat vice president/player personnel] Adam Simon. I reached to [Erik Spoelstra] and [assistant], Dan Craig, even coach O [Octavio De La Grana]. I reached out to the whole coaching staff and told them my style of play fits here and you guys showed me how to be a pro. I want to come back here and pay dividends and show you what I’ve learned over the years and show you I belong. They gave me an opportunity so I am here to show them what I can do again.”