The Chicago Bulls won’t trade Derrick Rose, despite some weird rumors suggesting there’s a rift between him and Jimmy Butler about the star-of-the-team slot. However, considering Joakim Noah and his offensive woes, not to mention regression, the French center could be in line for a move.
Noah is signed through the 2015-2016 season, making $13.4 million, which will be the third highest salary on the team once Jimmy Butler gets his maximum contract extension, which he will. But as the team’s concept of two big men who can’t really spread the floor failed against a less than 100% healthy Cleveland Cavaliers, Noah might be the one who pays the price.
The Bulls’ focus on defense over the years, with or without Derrick Rose, failed to deliver the goods, if by goods you mean getting past the conference finals, which they only got to one time. This season was a shift towards a more offensive approach. With or without Tom Thibodeau, the Bulls are going to be moving more and more in a direction that fits where the league is going, which means more players who can spread the floor and score in more than just tip ins and dunks.
Noah did struggle with injuries during this season, playing in just 67 games, averaging 7.2 points in 30.6 minutes a night. His per minute numbers dropped significantly, but so did his usage numbers due to Pau Gasol becoming such an important player for the team, Jimmy Butler rising and Derrick Rose returning, which means there’s no longer use for Noah to be the de facto point guard.
His playoff performance was even worse, embarrassing at times. He averaged just 5.8 points per game and shot 40.8% from the field. He’s never been a player with the most aesthetically pleasing style when he has the ball, but it did seem too many times that he’s not just awkward but actually hurting the offense when it goes through him. The Bulls’ net rating with Noah was pretty much zero.
There were other problems for Chicago, not just Noah. But considering his price tag and the way this league is going, not to mention the need to give Nikola Mirotic more minutes, he might be the one to pay the price for another failed playoff adventure. It’s never smart blowing things up just because of a little underachieving, yet the Bulls do need to make some sort of change in style and personnel in order to take this group a step further before they really need to shake things up.