NBA Free Agents 2016: Will Joakim Noah Leave the Chicago Bulls in the Offseason?
Joakim Noah played limited role for the Chicago Bulls before he went down with a season-ending should injury. Will it affect his decision when he becomes a free agent after the 2015-16 NBA season?
Noah addressed talks about his future during a news conference, saying that he is not yet thinking about free agency. But if he will have it his way, Noah wants to stay in Chicago, where he has played his entire nine-year career.
"I hope so," Noah told reporters, when asked if he wants to continue playing in Chicago. "Right now I'm not trying to focus on the future. I just had season-ending surgery last week. But this is all I know. So I'm looking forward to see what the guys are doing, and right now it's just all about taking a step back and just focusing on getting healthy."
Noah started in all regular-season games in the past five seasons but lost his spot in the starting lineup after the Bulls hired Fred Hoiberg to replace Tom Thibodeau last summer.
In 29 games under Hoiberg, Noah averaged a career-low 4.3 points to go along with 8.8 rebounds and 3.8 assists in 21.9 minutes per game. Noah and his camp were looking for a better production heading into free agency, but the season-ending injury hurt his chances of improving his stock.
But while the odds are stacked against him, Noah, who is free to sign with another team as an unrestricted free agent in the offseason, is determined to prove his doubters wrong.
"It's not easy, but I know there's people out there who it's a lot harder for, so I'm not complaining," Noah said. "These are my cards right now. And it's all about how you bounce back. I just want to prove that I have a lot more basketball in me."
Before sustaining the season-ending injury, the Chicago Sun-Times, citing multiple sources, revealed that the Bulls were determined to shop Noah before the annual trade deadline on Feb. 18.
The report also added that the emergence of rookie forward Bobby Portis made Noah a dispensable asset. Portis, the 22nd overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, is averaging just 6.5 points and 4.2 rebounds per game this season, but Hoiberg had nothing but praises for the former Arkansas standout.
"He's playing too well, he's playing with so much confidence. He rebounds the ball, he plays with a toughness and a swagger, and that's what you want," Hoiberg said of Portis.
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