Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah may be heading over to the Minnesota Timberwolves in order to reunite with his former head coach Tom Thibodeau.
"“Noah has no trust in the front office getting this in the right direction.”"
Although the organization probably should not be too surprised given that head coach Fred Hoiberg benched the center at the start of the season and Noah even supposedly took a step back from his charity obligations strictly because he was approached by Gar Forman’s wife, it is still a major blow to Chicago.
Of course nothing is set in stone but the bottom line is, Bulls fans should be prepared to say goodbye to the 31-year-old.
So where could Noah be headed?
"League sources tell Sporting News that Thibodeau has targeted Joakim Noah, who is an unrestricted free agent and has interest in leaving Chicago and re-joining Thibodeau. When they were together in Chicago, Noah developed and thrived under Thibodeau, finishing fourth in the MVP voting in 2013-14."
There is no doubt that Noah and Thibodeau certainly worked well together. That year, the Bulls star averaged 12.6 points, 11.3 rebounds, 5.4 assists, 1.5 blocks and 1.2 steals a game, on 35.3 minutes of play.
He played and started 80 games, and although he lost the Most Valuable Player award to Kevin Durant, he did win 2013-14 Defensive Player of the Year.
And Noah attributed his success to Thibodeau’s system:
"“Thibs, we’ve definitely had our hard times, our ups and downs, but without your system this wouldn’t be possible.”"
He further explained what he meant after the award ceremony.
"“Defense helps win and winning is definitely the most important thing,” said Noah. “I remember one day we were working out at the Berto Center and Thibs was putting me through a real grueling workout and I told him, ‘You know, Thibs? If we weren’t winning games I would really, really hate you.’ And he said, ‘Trust me, Jo. I feel the same way about you.'”"
The respect was certainly mutual too, as Thibodeau obviously appreciated the way Noah let himself develop under his guidance.
"“I think he understands where I’m coming from. I understand where he’s coming from. He’s a character, but he’s enjoyable to coach because you know how important winning is to him. And you know how important work is to him…”"
However, Noah’s possible move over to the Minnesota Timberwolves is more complicated than just he and Thibodeau wanting to work together once again. There are also other factors like the rest of the team and of course money, to consider.
The Timberwolves have made it clear that they are trying to build around young talent like Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins. And while Noah is not necessarily at the point of retirement, he certainly seems to be past his prime.
Additionally, although Minnesota definitely has the cap space to give Noah a large deal, there are a handful of other big talent free agents available this summer that they may want to try and save their money for.
Would a Noah/Thibodeau reunion be great? Absolutely. Both sides definitely stand to gain something. And can it be done? Sure. Especially given Thibodeau’s expanded role in this organization. But in this league, nothing is as easy as it seems. So for now, stay tuned.