Joakim Noah

Joakim Noah To Retire

Veteran big man Joakim Noah is “effectively” retiring as a player, sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). According to Charania, the plan is for Noah to eventually retire as a Bull.

Noah, who turned 36 last Thursday, spent nine of his 13 seasons with the Bulls after being selected by the team with the ninth overall pick in the 2007 draft. His best seasons came in Chicago, where he was the anchor of the team’s frontcourt under head coach Tom Thibodeau, playing alongside Derrick Rose, Jimmy Butler, and Luol Deng.

Noah earned an All-Star berth, as well as a spot on the All-Defensive First Team, in both 2013 and 2014. He was named the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year for the 2013/14 season and was a member of the All-NBA First Team that year as well. He also received an All-Defensive Second Team nod in 2011.

The former Florida Gator standout had a decorated college career before entering the NBA, winning back-to-back NCAA championships in 2006 and 2007 under head coach Billy Donovan.

Following his stint with the Bulls, Noah signed a four-year, $72MM contract with the Knicks during 2016’s infamous free agency period. He appeared in just 53 total games across two seasons in New York before being waived and stretched — his annual $6.4MM cap hits remain on the Knicks’ books through 2021/22.

Noah also enjoyed brief stints with the Grizzlies in 2018/19 and Clippers in ’19/20. When Noah was waived by Los Angeles at the start of training camp in December, agent Bill Duffy said his client would likely end up retiring.

When Noah officially signs a ceremonial contract with Chicago to retire as a Bull, he’ll be following in the footsteps of his former teammate Deng, who did the same thing in 2019.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Knicks Notes: Toppin, Knox, Houston, Robinson

While 25th overall pick Immanuel Quickley has shown signs he could be the Knicks’ answer at point guard, lottery pick Obi Toppin has gotten off to a surprisingly slow start to his NBA career, Mike Vornukov of The Athletic writes. The No. 8 pick is averaging 12.0 MPG after coming into the draft with the reputation as the most NBA-ready player in his class, Vornukov points out. Part of the problem is he’s been used as a big wing, rather than as a rim runner and pick-and-roll threat, Vornukov adds.

We have more on the Knicks:

  • Kevin Knox vows to stay positive despite the fact he’s fallen out of the rotation, Peter Botte of the New York Post writes. “I’m going to continue to be ready, because anything can happen, at any moment, any given time,” Knox said. “So I want to make sure that I’m ready. I’ll continue to get my reps up, continue to shoot the ball well, focus a lot on defense, watch a lot of film, so when they do call my number and my time does come, I’m ready.”
  • Allan Houston’s new front office title is Vice President, Player Leadership & Development, Ian Begley of SNY tweets. Last season, Houston was GM for the organization’s G League affiliate in Westchester. He was also a former assistant GM in the organization. Pops Mensah-Bonsu is now Director of Minor League Operations, Begley adds.
  • Center Mitchell Robinson reminds coach Tom Thibodeau of a young Joakim Noah, Steve Popper of Newsday writes. “(Noah) started off as a defensive player, an energy guy, a guy who ran the floor well,” Thibodeau said. “He was an excellent passer, decision maker, very good with dribble handoffs and I think that’s a part of Mitch’s game that can grow. And so we’ll challenge him in that way.”

Clippers Waive Joakim Noah; Retirement Likely

10:09 pm: The Clippers have officially announced in a press release that they’ve waived Noah.


8:35 pm: As was expected following news of Reggie Jackson‘s return earlier today, the Clippers will waive backup center Joakim Noah, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reports.

In a less expected development, Noah’s agent at BDA Sports, Bill Duffy, told Wojnarowski that the 6’11” center will likely retire rather than seek a basketball home elsewhere for 2020/21. Though the 35-year-old big man struggled during his lone Los Angeles season, he had a productive run as an energizing reserve with the Grizzlies the year prior.

“What an illustrious career for Joakim,” Duffy reflected. “It’s been my honor to represent Joakim through his journey.” 

Noah won two NCAA championships with the Florida Gators in 2006 and 2007, alongside future NBA pros Al Horford, Corey Brewer, Marreesse Speights, Chris Richard, and Taurean Green. Those legendary Florida squads were coached by new Bulls head coach Billy Donovan.

After being drafted by the Bulls with the ninth pick in the 2007 draft, Noah went on to make two All-Star teams and help lead a culture change in Chicago, transforming the team into an energetic, defensive-first behemoth.

Noah’s crowning individual accolade in the NBA was being named Defensive Player of the Year for the 2013/14 season. He also made the All-NBA First Team that season and finished with the fourth-most MVP votes that year (ahead of James Harden). During that standout season, Noah averaged 12.6 PPG, 11.3 RPG, 5.4 APG, 1.5 BPG, and 1.2 SPG across 80 games.

Overall, Noah was a three-time All-Defensive Team inclusion. Noah’s defensive moxie, stellar rebounding, terrific passing, and unique style and free throw form made him a local favorite during his Bulls tenure.

Noah signed a lucrative four-year, $72MM deal with his hometown Knicks during the free agency boom of 2016. The union was ultimately cut short ahead of the 2018/19 season, when New York opted to waive and stretch the rest of Noah’s deal. The club will be paying him $6.4MM during both the 2020/21 and 2021/22 seasons, as Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News tweets.

The Bulls will likely consider honoring the unique big man in much the same way they paid tribute to his long-time teammate, former All-Star Bulls forward Luol Deng. Chicago inked a one-day contract with Deng in October 2019 so that he could officially retire as a Bull. Noah has certainly earned a similarly hallowed place in the hearts of Bulls fans to merit such a tribute.

Bobby Marks of ESPN tweets that this latest move means that the Clippers now have 13 guaranteed deals on their books, and currently find themselves a crucial $2.2MM below the league’s restrictive hard cap.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Reactions To Bulls’ Billy Donovan Hire

The Bullshiring of Billy Donovan as their new head coach was met with positive reviews by rival executives and by agents of Bulls players alike, according to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype. One Eastern Conference GM who spoke to Scotto pointed out that Donovan has yet to coach a team without a “strong personality,” meaning it will be interesting to see how he shapes Chicago’s young core.

“Looking at the other jobs for Billy, the only one that might have been better for him is New Orleans, but I can see why he went with Chicago,” the GM told HoopsHype. “They have young talent, lots of flexibility, a great city, and solid ownership.”

“It’s great,” an agent said of the Donovan hire. “He or Kenny Atkinson would’ve been good choices. They can only go up. They have a lot of talent and underachieved, so he can look really good when they do better.”

Here’s more on the Bulls’ new head coach:

  • Joakim Noah, who played under Donovan during his college days at Florida, lauded the hire in a conversation with K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. “He’s someone who cares about his players, someone who is very demanding, someone who is very competitive and just has a great balance to him,” Noah said. “It’s a great hire.” Nick Friedell of ESPN wonders (via Twitter) if a reunion between Noah and the Bulls could be in the cards now that Donovan is in the picture.
  • Zach LaVine was streaming Call of Duty on Facebook Gaming when word broke that the Bulls were hiring Donovan, so his reaction was captured live, as Rob Schaefer of NBC Sports Chicago details. “Oh damn, we got Billy Donovan as our next coach,” LaVine said on the feed. “Wow. That’ll be good… Really good coach.”
  • Donovan brings flexibility, crunch-time success, consistency, and player-development skills to the Bulls, writes Darnell Mayberry for The Athletic. Meanwhile, over at NBC Sports Chicago, Rob Schaefer’s breakdown of four ways Donovan can immediately help the Bulls covers some of the same bases as Mayberry’s piece.
  • While Chicago’s new head of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas faced a little criticism for taking so long to part ways with previous head coach Jim Boylen, it’s worth noting that Donovan wouldn’t have been available if the team had moved quickly to replace Boylen when Karnisovas was hired in the spring, observes Jon Greenberg of The Athletic.

Atlantic Notes: Simmons, Thibodeau, Wanamaker, Hall

Sixers star Ben Simmons has undergone a fundamental change in his thinking when it comes to shooting threes, according to head coach Brett Brown, as relayed by ESPN’s Tim Bontemps.

Simmons has reached a new level of familiarity behind the arc, becoming more and more comfortable with taking three-pointers as the year’s progressed. He attempted a pair of threes in the team’s scrimmage against Memphis on Friday, connecting on one in the corner.

“Just playing,” Simmons said. “We’ve been practicing, working on just finding that corner. I’m very comfortable over there, and I’ve been shooting those shots, so I’m glad my teammates are finding me.”

Brown has used Simmons at power forward since landing in Orlando, testing a lineup that features Shake Milton, Josh Richardson, Tobias Harris, Simmons and Joel Embiid in limited time. The team is hopeful Simmons can build on his new position and thinking in the longterm, especially in a league primarily centered on spreading the floor.

“I get excited [watching it] … He doesn’t flinch,” Brown said. “The sport told him, ‘I’m open, nobody is guarding me, shoot it,’ and he did. There was no hesitation about what’s next, or, ‘What decision do I have to make now?'”

There’s more out of the Atlantic Division today:

  • Former Knicks center Joakim Noah believes Tom Thibodeau is a perfect hire for the organization, Zach Braziller of the New York Post writes. Noah, who was coached by Thibodeau in Chicago from 2010-15, praised his defensive tenacity and winning ways after the news broke. “Defense and practice habits,” Noah wrote in a comment on social media. “The Knicks are in good hands. All he cares about is hoop. Perfect fit.” Thibodeau is finalizing a five-year agreement with the organization, according to ESPN.
  • Celtics guard Brad Wanamaker is taking advantage of his opportunity with the team, Taylor Snow of Celtics.com writes. Wanamaker has earned the respects of his teammates as a natural leader, averaging 6.6 points, 2.5 assists and 19.3 minutes as a back-up point guard this season. He recorded nine points, four rebounds and four assists in the team’s scrimmage win against Phoenix on Sunday, logging 21 minutes.
  • Nets big man Donta Hall has practiced with the team for the first time since inking his contract earlier this month, Zach Braziller writes in a separate story for the New York Post. Despite not playing in Saturday’s scrimmage against San Antonio, Hall is expected to receive action in the coming days with the team. “We’ll be able to see if we’re able to have some growth from him during this bubble period and he definitely should get some minutes to help us along with these games,” interim coach Jacque Vaughn said.

Pacific Notes: Morris Twins, Barnes, Suns, Noah, More

There are a few players who showed up on the list of official rosters released on Monday by the NBA who still haven’t reported to the Walt Disney World campus. However, more players continue to arrive by the day.

According to Kyle Goon of The Orange County Register (Twitter link), Clippers forward Marcus Morris is at the team’s Tuesday morning practice today, having reported to the campus and cleared his quarantine period. His twin brother Markieff Morris will be joining the Lakers soon, Marcus tells Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated (Twitter link). Dave McMenamin of ESPN tweets that Markieff is expected to arrive at the campus today and will begin his initial quarantine.

Meanwhile, Kings forward Harrison Barnes, who tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this month, could depart for Orlando as soon as today if he returns one more negative coronavirus test, Spears reports (via Twitter).

Finally, Ricky Rubio, Aron Baynes, Elie Okobo, and Jalen Lecque didn’t make the initial trip to Orlando two weeks ago with the Suns and still hadn’t practiced with the club as of Sunday, sources tell Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic. A pair of Suns players tested positive for the coronavirus nearly a month ago, but it’s not clear if any or all of the delayed arrivals are related to COVID-19.

Here’s more from around the Pacific:

  • Kings forward Jabari Parker and center Alex Len spoke to reporters on Monday about their experiences with COVID-19, as Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee details. Len, who said he temporarily lost his sense of smell and taste while dealing with the virus, tested positive for 24 consecutive days before eventually returning multiple negative tests and being cleared.
  • Clippers big man Joakim Noah has benefited from the NBA’s hiatus, which gave him more time to get fully healthy after suffering an Achilles injury, writes Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times. Noah’s new teammates are impressed by what they’ve seen so far from the veteran center. “He’s just bringing that energy every day,” guard Rodney McGruder said. “That’s something that I’m learning from him, and it’s just the intensity and just the persistence that he plays with on the defensive end, how you always hear his voice. He’s always yelling, he’s always talking.”
  • Ethan Strauss of The Athletic identifies the wings in this year’s draft class that he thinks would fit best with the Warriors, including Isaac Okoro, Aaron Nesmith, and Saddiq Bey.

California Notes: MCW, Clippers, Kings, Smith, Waiters

The Warriors will need to consider free agent backup point guard candidates during their upcoming offseason. Since Golden State will be stretched thin due to some exorbitant contracts to the team’s top four players, The Athletic’s Anthony Slater makes the case for 28-year-old injury-prone non-shooter Michael Carter-Williams, an unrestricted free agent, on a league minimum.

Carter-Williams, a career 40.3% shooter from the floor (and a 25.6% shooter from deep), has logged time with the Sixers, Bucks, Bulls, Hornets, Rockets and Magic in his seven NBA seasons. Slater lauds the 6’5″ guard’s size and notes that his three-point shooting has improved with Orlando, adding that he was a +27 in his time on the floor during the Magic’s three road games, all wins, before the NBA season pause on March 11. For 2019/20, Carter-Williams is shooting a below-average 29.4% from long range, which would be his career-high over a full season.

There are more updates out of California:

  • The Clippers are using their practices in the NBA’s Disney World campus to fully integrate recent additions Marcus Morris, Reggie Jackson and Joakim Noah, per Mirjam Swanson of the Orange County Register. “It’s pretty much we know who we want to play, but as far as the rotations and the minutes, I think that’s still a little bit in flux,” head coach Doc Rivers noted. “We’ll see. You kind of decide on what you’re going to do going by how you’re practicing.”
  • With several Kings players currently unavailable, rookies Justin James, Kyle Guy and DaQuan Jeffries will be able to use team practices and scrimmages in Disney World as an opportunity to prove their mettle, according to The Athletic’s Jason Jones. Sacramento head coach Luke Walton noted that the young players are “getting crucial reps in practice and most likely, at least in the preseason (scrimmage) games, they’ll be getting some meaningful minutes as well.”
  • Newly-minted Lakers wings J.R. Smith and Dion Waiters have been using their Orlando campus tenure to bond with their L.A. teammates, per Kyle Goon of the Orange County Register. Head coach Frank Vogel commended the team’s new backcourt additions with helping to stoke everyone’s competitive fire. “They both bring toughness and swag — those guys are killers,” Vogel said. “They go after it with great competitive spirit and they have the talent to back it up and be highly productive on the court.”

L.A. Notes: Noah, Williams, Leonard, LeBron

Joakim Noah, who recently signed with the Clippers for the rest of the season, might have joined the team earlier if not for an accident in September, writes Garrett Chorpenning of Sports Illustrated. Noah had a workout scheduled, but was forced to cancel after getting hurt.

“In September, I had a freak accident and cut my Achilles, and you know, I told myself that that’s just not how I wanted to end my career,” Noah told reporters today. “So you know, the day after the surgery, I was in the gym working out with the hope of making this team. I knew that if I didn’t keep training and if I got a call from the Clippers and I wasn’t ready, I knew I would have regrets for the rest of my life. … Being in a position to win a championship, it’s not something that I take for granted.”

The 35-year-old center finally joined the team on a 10-day contract in March, just two days before the hiatus began. Late last month, he signed a deal that covers the remainder of this season and is non-guaranteed for 2020/21.

There’s more regarding the L.A. teams:

  • Clippers guard Lou Williams was “50-50” about coming to Orlando, but respected the results of a team vote, tweets Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN. “We decided our decision was going to be everybody or nobody,” Williams said. “… We decided to come as a group. I’m part of the group. I have a lot of thoughts, ideas I felt strongly about personally, but I represent a group.”
  • After not traveling with the Clippers to Orlando, Kawhi Leonard joined the team last night, tweets Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports. Coach Doc Rivers said he hasn’t decided what to do with Leonard’s minutes yet, but having a fully healthy team will make it easier to rest him, tweets Jovan Buha of The Athletic.
  • Lakers star LeBron James will wear his name on the back of his jersey rather than one of the league-approved messages regarding social justice, according to ESPN. James said the available options “didn’t seriously resonate with my mission, with my goal.” He adds that he never feared that the NBA wouldn’t finish its season. “No, never crossed my mind that we did not need to play this beautiful game of basketball that brings so many people together,” James said. “That brings happiness. That brings joy to the households of so many families.”

Clippers Sign Joakim Noah

JUNE 28 (3:35pm): The Clippers have officially signed Noah to his contract, the team announced in a press release on Sunday.

JUNE 28 (9:00am): Noah’s new deal covers the rest of the season and is non-guaranteed for 2020/21, tweets Jovah Buha of The Athletic.

JUNE 20: The Clippers intend to sign veteran center Joakim Noah to a rest-of-season contract once the NBA opens its transaction window next week, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic (via Twitter).

Noah had been just three days into a 10-day deal with the Clippers when the NBA suspended its season on March 11. However, active 10-day contracts, including Noah’s, will expire on June 23, per Charania. All other active 10-day deals belonged to players on teams that won’t be participating in the league’s resumed season this summer.

News that the Clippers plan to retain Noah doesn’t come as a major surprise. When he first signed with the club in March, the agreement was reported as an opportunity for a 10-day audition that was expected to be followed by a rest-of-season commitment. More recently, Noah spoke as if he would be part of Los Angeles’ roster when play resumed.

A former Defensive Player of the Year, Noah appeared in 42 games for the Grizzlies during the 2018/19 season, averaging 7.1 PPG, 5.7 RPG, and 2.1 APG in 16.5 minutes per contest. The big man reportedly had a workout lined up with the Clippers last September, but was forced to cancel it after suffering an injury. He sat out most of the ’19/20 campaign, eventually joining the Clips once he got healthy.

Once the Clippers officially re-sign Noah, they’ll have a full roster, with 15 players on standard contracts and two on two-way deals. In order to make any additional changes, they’ll likely have to waive someone, though they’d also be eligible to sign a substitute player if one of their current players chose not to participate in the restart.

Joakim Noah Ready For NBA Return With Clippers

New Clippers backup center Joakim Noah cannot wait to get back on the court. In an extended conversation with The Athletic’s Jovan Buha, Noah went into detail about how he lobbied for his NBA return, now transpiring more than a year after he last suited up for the Grizzlies.

The article specifically notes that Noah, a two-time All-Star and 2014 Defensive Player of the Year with the Bulls, used his connections to get his shot with the Clippers. In just 16.5 MPG, Noah averaged 7.1 PPG and 5.7 RPG across 42 contests for Memphis during the 2018/19 season.

Noah, who splits his time between homes in Manhattan and Los Angeles, inked a 10-day contract with Los Angeles on March 9, two days before league play was paused due to the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. Buha notes that, at 91 (now 94) days and counting, Noah’s deal has become one of the longest 10-day contracts in NBA history.

Signed for his skills as a limited-minutes defensive attribute, a rim-rolling energetic force and a savvy passer, the 35-year-old can also function as something of a mentor to starting Clippers center Ivica Zubac. Undersized backup big man Montrezl Harrell gets the lions’ share of minutes at center.

The article also mentions that the Clippers will most likely guarantee Noah’s contract for the rest of the season, including the playoffs. The whole piece is well worth a read, but here are some choice quotes:

On concluding his career with a title contender:

“It was about being able to finish my career on a team that has a common goal.”

On waiting for his opportunity with Los Angeles through the coronavirus delay:

“I think it’s just it’s all about perspective and how you look at it… Even though it was a setback, I think it also makes me appreciate the opportunity that much more, you know?”

On his role with the Clippers:

“The way I look at it is I know that I’m in an environment right now with a winning culture and a team that’s really trying to win a championship and there’s not much more I could ask for… Regardless of what my role is, I’m grateful. I know I’m as ready as I can be. So it’s not about comparing myself to past years or even last year, it’s just being the best that I can be physically and using my experience to be there for the guys.”

On being able to mentor Zubac:

“I just want to talk to (Zubac) about some of the things that I’ve been through… I’ve been in situations where we had championship aspirations and then injuries kind of derailed that. So it’s just not taking your opportunities for granted. And just because you’re a young player doesn’t mean that these situations happen all the time. So it’s just like really living in the moment.”

On playing within the Orlando bubble during the pandemic, with a realistic title chance:

“I think that it’s different for teams who don’t have a chance, but for teams who have a chance, these opportunities don’t … I mean, we trust the league and we know that you know (NBA commissioner) Adam (Silver) is — I don’t think he’ll put the players’ health in jeopardy. He’s somebody who has shown time and time again that he’s the best commissioner in sports… There’s nobody I would want to do this with more than with the Clippers.”