Bulls

From Bulls to Knicks, Joakim Noah agrees it was time for change

From Bulls to Knicks, Joakim Noah agrees it was time for change

The pain was audible and the atrophy was visible when Joakim Noah’s shoulder came out of his socket in early January last season, ending his last year with the Bulls.

Deep down, it was possible he knew it was the end, and he knew it was time.

“I think it was time for change,” said Noah after the New York Knicks’ shootaround Friday morning at the United Center. “There’s no question about that. It seems like (The Bulls) is a happy group. They enjoy being around one another. That’s good.”

It wasn’t lost on Noah the fact that he and Derrick Rose’s return to Chicago took place on the same day as the Chicago Cubs’ parade after 108 years of futility.

“It’s a little different, a little different,” Noah said. “I see the people in Chicago are in a good mood today for a lot of reasons. It’s an exciting time in Chicago right now.”

Having signed with the Knicks for $72 million this past offseason, he’s talked to Taj Gibson and Doug McDermott in recent days in anticipation for his first game against the team that drafted him in 2007.

“I wish everybody well,” Noah said. “I’m not here wanting the Bulls to lose or anything like that. Just tonight though.”

Having mixed emotions is expected for a longtime former staple, but the reaction from the Bulls crowd will likely be one of appreciation as opposed to anything else. A new father having a new team, the emotions will likely hit the emotional player at some point Friday.

“That’s what battling is all about,” Noah said. “I know I fought really hard in this building every time I put on that Bulls uniform, and that means a lot to me. I have no regrets. It was a special time in my life.”

[SHOP: Gear up, Bulls fans!]

Noah’s last season in Chicago was a forgettable one for a number of reasons. Not being on the same page with Fred Hoiberg about his benching early in the season set a bad tone for Hoiberg’s credibility, and Noah battled shoulder injuries and struggled in his new role of coming off the bench in his 29 games.

“I look back on it and I was definitely frustrated. There was definitely a lot of adversity going on there,” Noah said. “Now I can look back at it and see where things went wrong. It’s not about blaming one person. Everybody in that locker room is good people. It’s just shit happens. It’s a locker room. At the end of the day, the things I remember the most are good memories from everybody. I have no hard feelings towards anybody.”

When asked to elaborate on what went wrong, Noah was slightly bemused as opposed to agitated, and stated the obvious.

“S**t, come on man. Please. It went wrong,” he said. “We didn’t make the playoffs. Everyone was disappointed. It was a team that had high expectations. You guys know where it went wrong. You guys were there every day. Right now, I’m just happy to be on the court. It’s a blessing to play basketball again.”

Add Basketball Insiders to the list of fans of the Bulls offseason

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USA TODAY

Add Basketball Insiders to the list of fans of the Bulls offseason

Basketball Insiders is starting to roll out their NBA offseason grades and in a continued string of positive publicity for the Bulls, they received a “B"  for their moves this summer. 

The main reason for Basketball Insider's David Yapkowitz feeling great about the Bulls offseason was the fact that they made stable moves that added solid veteran talent to their young, upside-filled core. He addresses how Chicago would've loved for their woeful 22-60 record in the 2018-19 season to result in a top-3 pick but are still pleased with how things went on draft night because of the obvious fit of Coby White fits an obvious need at the one.

White is more of a scorer than a natural playmaker—likely part of the reason the Bulls didn't get an "A"—but Basketball Insiders note that White showed some playmaking skills at summer league, something we have touched on in recent days. 

Ultimately White finished Summer League averaging 4.8 assists and3.8 turnovers per game and looked like the exact type of prospect the Bulls need to kick their offense into high-gear sooner than later. Coby White love aside, Yapkowitz lauds the Bulls drafting Daniel Gafford in the second round as a replacement for Robin Lopez. 

Summer League isn’t always a great indicator of how a player will translate to the NBA, but Gafford was solid as a finisher around the rim and a shot blocker in the paint. He may end up becoming one of the steals of the draft.

-David Yapkowitz 

The Tomas Satoransky sign-and-trade was received well by most and Basketball Insiders were also fans of this move. Satoransky stands 6-foot-7 and is a career 40 percent 3-point shooter who will both provide additional spacing for LaVine and as function as a solid playmaker as well.

The addition of Satoransky allows the Bulls to bring the 19-year old White along slowly and Yapkowitz calls Satoransky "a perfect stop-gap as the starting point guard while White develops".

He also comments on Satoransky being a perfect fit next LaVine. The perfect fit label can also be applied to new Bulls forward Thaddeus Young, whose defensive versatility and leadership will be excellent boosts to this young Bulls squad. Basketball Insiders stated that Young will bring "consistency on and off the court.

Opinions on the Bulls offseason have been mostly positive and Basketball Insiders even touched on smaller moves, like the additions of two-way player Adam Mokoka and stretch-five Luke Kornet, being solid deals. 

The Eastern Conference will be wide-open next season with the departure of Kawhi Leonard to the West and if the Bulls offseason additions contribute as much as expected, the Bulls could have a legitimate shot at competing for a playoff spot in the bottom half of the conference.

Bulls reportedly agree to two-year, fully guaranteed deal with Luke Kornet

Bulls reportedly agree to two-year, fully guaranteed deal with Luke Kornet

According to a report from Shams Charania, the Bulls have agreed to a fully guaranteed,  two-year, $4.5 million deal with Luke Kornet. The 7-foot-1 big man out of Vanderbilt is a stretch-five with some shot-blocking ability as well. 

Last season Kornet shot a career-best 36.3 percent from the 3-point line on 193 attempts. He will likely get a chance to compete for a rotation spot in a very young Bulls frontcourt that contains third-year player Lauri Markkanen, second-year players Wendell Carter Jr. and Chandler Hutchison, and rookie Daniel Gafford.

Over 66 career games, Kornet has averaged 14.8 points, 6.2 rebounds. 2.5 assists and 1.9 blocks per 36 minutes.

Kornet played his best basketball of the season against the Bulls last year averaging 15 points, 7.3 rebounds, 2assists, and 3.3 blocks while shooting a scorching-hot 53.1 percent from the field and 44.4 percent from the 3-point line. The Bulls front office hopes those flashes against the Bulls were a forecast of what’s to come from the 24-year old Kornet.