Bulls: Joakim Noah wants another shot at pairing with Pau Gasol


Bulls: Joakim Noah wants another shot at pairing with Pau Gasol

When the Bulls made their expected coaching change, one of the on-court changes many expected was to break up the tandem of Joakim Noah and Pau Gasol in the frontcourt.

In fact, when Fred Hoiberg had his availability on Media Day, the new Bulls coach anticipated it would be among the first three questions. The notion stemmed around Noah limping around last season and to a lesser extent, Gasol advancing in age. With Gasol being an All-Star player, the speculation was growing louder that Noah should come off the bench to balance out the floor.

But Noah feels Hoiberg should hold off on making a decision based off the tape from last year. The film doesn’t lie that the duo looked uneven last season, despite the gaudy record posted by the starting five for the few games they played together (16-5).

“I think we should give it an honest evaluation while I’m healthy,” Noah said. “Last year, I wasn’t healthy. Let’s see how it goes and then coaches can make a decision from there.”

In some respects, Noah was kept on the floor due to loyalty and a level of comfort from Tom Thibodeau, even as his left knee affected virtually every aspect of his game, including his confidence.

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The numbers fell across the board, which have been well-documented. And he wasn’t able to cover Gasol’s back defensively, contributing to his 102-point defensive rating, his highest in the Thibodeau era by far.

So Gasol, who underwent nasal surgery in June to alleviate breathing issues, is keeping an open mind to the pairing, although he knows he’ll see considerable time with Nikola Mirotic as a way to maximize the Bulls’ offensive prowess.

“That's got to be the coaching staff's decision, obviously, not ours,” Gasol said. “I think each player will do the best he can to be on the floor as long as possible and have significant minutes. It's good to see Jo healthy and moving well.”

Everything should be prefaced with saying it’s the first days of camp so bodies don’t have the wear-and-tear on it that will be around in February, but Noah won’t be limited by minute restrictions or the mental fears that he can’t do it physically.

“He looks fresh,” Gasol said. “He looks like he's in really good shape, has worked hard during the summer. Now he does feel and look bouncier. It's great to see him that way. From what I've seen so far, yes. The day and a half I've seen him, he looks really good.”

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Moving well means lateral movement being the biggest improvement for Noah, allowing him to cover ground quicker baseline to baseline and on high screen-rolls, should the Bulls decide to trap up high in an aggressive setting.

“I just feel bouncier, just lighter on my feet,” Noah said. “Just waking up in the morning and moving good, that’s a good feeling. Doing a lot of yoga every morning before I come in. Just taking care of myself a little different. This isn’t my first rodeo.”

Of course Noah has been through it before, and Gasol is a veteran of many training camps, so one wonders how much Hoiberg can experiment with the two playing together in the preseason, especially when the plan is to limit Gasol’s usage to under the 34.4 minutes he played per game last season, his highest mark since the 2011-12 season when he was a much younger man.

“Well, we'll see how the season goes,” Gasol said. “Ideally, I'll play less than I did last year and that's kind of the plan, I guess. But we'll see what happens. I've just got to be ready. Seasons are long, are tough, are demanding and as a professional, you have to stay ready. It's not going to be ideal all the time. It's never ideal. You just have to work through it and do the best you can.”

NBA Board of Governors pass new, stricter anti-tampering rules


NBA Board of Governors pass new, stricter anti-tampering rules

After much discussion over whether or not the NBA should impose harsher penalties on teams for breaking the anti-tampering rules, an official decision has been made. The NBA Board of Governors passed a much more strict set of rules that will force teams to be compliant with the anti-tampering rules.

Among the new measures, the league will be selecting five teams per year that will undergo a "random audit", the maximum amount for a fine related to tampering has been raised to $10 million and team officials are required to save communications with agents for one full year.

The league will also retain the right to take the communication devices of owners if it is deemed necessary in investigations, though it has been stated that it is not something that Adam Silver wants to rely on moving forward. 

Though concrete details have not been released, possible punishments for tampering will reportedly include taking away draft picks, the voiding of contracts and more.

This is all in an attempt to create a more "even playing field" amid the belief that small-market teams are at a disadvantage when it comes to player movement. The new rules sound great but there is already fear among NBA GMs when it comes to how their privacy will be affected with this being a clear area of focus for the league. 

Along with the new, harsher tampering penalties, the league also announced that they have changed the language regarding traveling calls to "address the uncertainty around traveling." Another new rule announced was that teams are now required to announce their starting lineups at least 30 minutes before tipoff as opposed to 10 minutes, in an effort to "increase transparency for teams, media and fans." Teams will still be allowed to change their lineups up to the last minute if a player gets hurt in pregame warmups. 

All of the new anti-tampering rules approved by the league on Friday were a response to this wild NBA offseason we just experienced. There were many deals agreed to right at the start of free agency, such as the Bulls with Thaddeus Young, and the timing of those deals had many owners wanting the league to make tampering a greater focus. To a greater extent, moves like Anthony Davis forcing his way to the Lakers and Kawhi Leonard orchestrating he and Paul George's move to the Clippers are what got this package of anti-tampering measures passed.

Adam Silver has picked up a reputation as an NBA Commissioner who is very willing to listen to new ideas and make changes, and Friday's events support that reputation as he and the league continue to look for the best ways to get NBA teams to be in compliance with the anti-tampering rules. 

Is Ryan Arcidiacono trying to become the fourth Jonas Brother?


Is Ryan Arcidiacono trying to become the fourth Jonas Brother?

The Jonas Brothers are in Chicago for concerts that are taking place on Thursday and Friday night, and they have enjoyed quite a week. This week the trio has enjoyed a nice golf outing at Village Links in Glen Ellyn, had some quality BBQ at Bub City and even got the amazing opportunity to play a touch football game at Soldier Field. But one particular Bulls guard is looking to add another fun experience to their Chicago trip.

The Bulls organization welcomed the Jonas Brothers to the city with a set of custom jerseys for the trio and their significant others and that's when Ryan Arcidiacono chimed in with his offer. 

Since the Jonas Brothers have already got to play some football on the actual Soldier Field grass, Arci figured they might as well keep the Chicago sports-themed fun going and shoot some hoops with him. 

Now, Arcidiacono didn't make it clear whether or not he was offering for the Jonas Brother to get some shots up with him at the United Center, where their shows take place on Thursday and Friday night. But, either way, his time is running out as they will be moving on to Jackson County, MO for their next stop on tour on September 21.

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