For someone who previously said he was looking forward to free agency, Joakim Noah is surprisingly direct in his actual approach: the soon-to-be-former Bulls great is reportedly going to sign with the Knicks.
Tim Botemps of the Washington Post is reporting that Noah is going to sign with New York when free agency begins 7/1 (and officially on 7/7). The figure is $18m a season, though no report on the length of the contract. That's obviously a key detail, as Noah is 31 and has battled numerous injuries over the past 3 seasons. Ironically he'll be filling a center spot vacated by Robin Lopez, who came to the Bulls in the Derrick Rose trade.
Other reporters are saying that this is a done deal, insomuch that deals technically can't be done yet. Noah plans to meet with Knicks president Phil Jackson when free agency begins, and doesn't look to be having any other meetings. The Bulls had said in their season-ending press conference, and to a lesser degree last week, that they'd like to re-sign Noah. But the acquisition of Lopez, and their own ineptitude, has seemingly killed that notion.
We'll be sure to have a deserved retrospective on Joakim later this summer. Someone who was once the face and heart of the team, especially during Derrick Rose's absences, Noah was marginalized both by his new coach and his own injury limitations over the past year. It didn't look likely he would return, especially since he's a winner and the Bulls look to be losers going forward. But then why go to the Knicks? Eh, he's from there. And Derrick Rose is there now too. And that seems like a lot of money, so good for him. He can ring-chase in the 3rd act of his career.
His Bulls career, if it's indeed over, winds up with 572 games played for the Bulls, 9th all-time in that category. Also 9th in total minutes, with the most minutes ever for a center. Noah was named to 2 All-Star teams, and won the Defensive Player of the Year award in 2014. He was awesome.