Joakim Noah - Once the identity of the team, now might be looking for a new home
When Fred Hoiberg took over the Chicago Bulls from the previous coach Tom Thibodeau, the Bulls became a different team. The philosophy changed, the style of play was different although the personnel remained the same. But that was the start of the end for Joakim Noah in Chicago.
The former defensive player of the year thrived in the defensive schemes and style of the play incorporated by Coach Thibodeau. When Coach Hoiberg took over, the bulls recreated their identity. They became an offense oriented team that plays good defense from a complete defense oriented team. And this change affected Noah more than any other player on the roster. The one time MVP competitor has to now settle for a role off the bench.
Joakim Noah has played all nine of his NBA seasons with the Chicago Bulls. He was selected by the Bulls out of Florida with the No. 9 pick in the 2007 draft and ranks among the franchise leaders in several categories. Noah was the centerpiece of one of the most dogged defenses in the league. He was the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year, an All-Star and All-NBA First Team.
Now, it appears his career may be over in Chicago.
After a forgetful rookie campaign, he won over Bulls fans everywhere with his passionate, hard-nosed play. During the 2013-2014 season when he finished fourth in MVP voting after leading an unknown group of players to 48 wins and a playoff berth despite another devastating Derrick Rose injury.
Noah is a free agent after this season and it's doubtful Chicago will bring him back. And many believe, 2015–16 would be his final season in Chicago. By the time the 2016-2017 season comes around, Noah will be 31-years-old. While this is not exactly young for a player who relies on athleticism, he is a smart player who can make adjustments to his game.
It would be tough for the Bulls players , fans and even Noah to imagine him playing elsewhere. But with the recent season ending injury, it is more likely that he would be offered more by other teams than what Bulls have for him.
Chicago Bulls need Noah healthy and rejuvenated if they would like to take over the Eastern conference. The Bulls players clearly miss his presence both on and off the court.
"Yeah, it’s tough to lose a guy like Jo who does so much us. But other than basketball I hate to see that happen to a good person like that," Jimmy Butler said. "He’s down, as he should be. It’s the game he loves, he wants to fight for this team. Just being out with the same injury or something like that, I don’t know exactly what it is, but he wants to be out there with us."
"It hurt, it hurt, just knowing how hard he worked, how hard he wants to be on the court, how much he means to this team, it’s devastating."
"Seeing him on the table like that, kinda got a flashback to when Derrick got hurt," forward Taj Gibson said. "You don’t want to see your man go down like that. It is frustrating...It hits you in the heart...the look on his face, is crazy. Because we know how hard he worked just to get back to the team and how much energy he had before the game, he really wanted to play the game, he understands the circumstances, how tired guys was."
If what they say is true and if Noah had played his last game as a Bull, the organization owes him a lot of respect. He was the identity and the face of Chicago Bulls. The energy and enthusiasm of Noah translated when the Bulls took court. Oh one more thing, Noah does not like Cleveland!