“The trade definitely hurt. But we’ve got to move on. I feel confident in this team. We’re working really hard. A lot of people say this is a business and all that. This game is more than a business to me. I put everything I got into this. So … I feel like Lu is the same way, so it was hard for me to digest. That’s just my perspective. Everybody has a job. I’m not mad at anybody. I’m not mad at the organization or anything like that. It’s just, my brother’s not here no more. I just needed a little bit of time to digest that.”
– Chicago Bulls star Joakim Noah on the trade that sent his teammate Luol Deng to Cleveland earlier in the week, per NBA.com’s Steve Aschburner. Noah was a fellow All-Star last season and has spent all seven of his NBA seasons with the Bulls and Deng.
The 28-year-old big man had not spoken to the media for five days and eight possible media sessions since the move. He added “There’s no tanking. There’s none of that.” and “I want people to be proud of their team” in reference to the Bulls’ possible strategy with Derrick Rose’s injury and moving Deng.
Noah is likely the best remaining player on the Bulls, who surprisingly have won three straight since the trade and five in a row overall. Since 2009-10, he’s averaged a consistent 11.1 points, 10.9 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.6 blocks per game. But during the previous four seasons, he missed 70 regular season games. Power forward Carlos Boozer remains, but is a possible amnesty target, per multiple rumors.
Deng was a clear fan favorite in Chicago throughout his career. WFNY’s Scott Sargent compared the move to when the Indians were forced to deal Victor Martinez back in 2009. You’re almost left feeling bad for Noah, despite all of his well-known Cleveland hate. Although he did have somewhat reassuring words to say about the Cavs and Anthony Bennett in November.
Jacob Rosen is a long-time contributor to WaitingForNextYear. He's also a writer online at SportsAnalyticsBlog and Nylon Calculus . An Akron native, Jacob is a current MBA student at the University of Oregon's Warsaw Sports Marketing Center. You can follow him on Twitter @WFNYJacob or e-mail him at udjrosen(at)gmail(dot)com.