DEERFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The Chicago Bulls are ready to get going this season with a host of new faces – and they’d like Joakim Noah to be there, too.
The Bulls have been mentioned in trade rumors surrounding Denver’s Carmelo Anthony, and Noah is facing an Oct. 31 deadline to sign a contract extension. He is due $3.1 million next season in the fourth year of his rookie contract.
Noah is coming off a breakout season in which he averaged 10.7 points and 11.0 rebounds per game. Bulls general manager Gar Forman said Monday that an extension is being discussed.
“Joakim is a big part of what we do,” Forman told reporters at media day. “We have been in discussion with his agents as far as an extension. We’re hopeful we’ll get something done.
“If we don’t, it’s not going to change where we’re at. We see Joakim as a big piece of who we are and what we’re doing.”
Forman said the team is following the Anthony situation, but wasn’t willing to comment on specific trade rumors.
“Our job is to monitor what is happening throughout the league,” said Forman. “We’ve have discussions all the time with a number of teams about a number of trade scenarios. … It’s not my place to say what any discussions have been with any team.”
Noah had no comment on the trade rumors.
“I feel like all we’re doing is just talking,” said Noah. “I’m really ready to just get out there and play.”
Chicago, like other teams this offseason, went after LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. They decided to former a superstar trio in Miami, and the Bulls instead landed two-time All-Star forward Carlos Boozer, sharpshooter Kyle Korver and guard Ronnie Brewer, who all played together in Utah.
“We have a great group of guys,” Boozer said. “(The Bulls) put together a team of quality people. Not just quality basketball players, but quality people.”
Other new additions this season include C.J. Watson, Omer Asik, Keith Bogans and Kurt Thomas. Not to mention first-time NBA head coach Tom Thibodeau, a former assistant coach with the Boston Celtics.
“I was not going to leave Boston unless it was a great opportunity,” said Thibodeau. “I felt (the Bulls) had everything I was looking for.”
Thibodeau said he is excited about the options he has in pairing Boozer with point guard Derrick Rose, one the league’s rising stars.
“(Boozer’s) versatility is a great asset,” said Thibodeau. “It’s starts with his post-up game, but the thing that gets overlooked is his ability to pass out of the post.
“When you put him in a play with Derrick, that’s very difficult to guard. You going to have to commit two people to the ball. That opens up the floor for the rest of the guys.”
Along with Rose and Noah, the team has core players Luol Deng and Taj Gibson back this season. Rose, who averaged 20.8 points and 6.0 assists last season, is grateful to have some more help.
“It (is) exciting that the new players are good players,” said Rose. “They’re not selfish. They can definitely help my game. They’re older than I am, so they know the NBA game better than me.”
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