2:26pm: If Noah has been talking about his desire to leave the Bulls, he hasn’t been doing so with agent Bill Duffy, according to Duffy himself, who tells K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune (Twitter links) that his client has “great respect” for the city of Chicago, Bulls fans, and the organization. “Joakim and I speak on a daily basis about his future,” Duffy said. “There has been zero indication he doesn’t wish to return to Bulls.”
12:42pm: Longtime Bull Joakim Noah is eligible for free agency this summer, and one Bulls player tells Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times that Noah has been telling teammates in recent weeks that he’s done with the organization once free agency begins, adding that he “has no trust in the front office getting this in the right direction.”
Noah, who has spent all of his nine NBA seasons in Chicago, won’t officially hit free agency until July, so if the Bulls want to re-sign him, there’s time to mend fences before then — and it does sound like Chicago would like to bring him back. One April report from the Tribune indicated that the team may favor keeping Noah on a short-term deal rather than making a strong effort to re-sign Pau Gasol.
Still, according to Cowley, it appears that multiple Bulls players harbor a mistrust for general manager Gar Forman, with Noah chief among those players. The 31-year-old big man also didn’t always mesh with first-year head coach Fred Hoiberg, who removed Noah from the starting lineup early in the season and said the former Gator had volunteered to come off the bench, a claim Noah disputed.
Noah underwent surgery on his separated left shoulder back in January, and while he should be ready to go for the 2016/17 campaign, he hasn’t played a game since that procedure. In 2015/16, he appeared in just 29 games, averaging 4.3 points, 8.8 rebounds and 3.8 assists in 21.9 minutes per contest.
Noah’s injury-shortened season may not have potential suitors clamoring to land him this offseason, and the Bulls hold his Bird rights, giving them plenty of flexibility to try to bring him back. But it sounds as if the former ninth overall pick intends to test the market and explore his options in July.