It looks like the Joakim Noah era in Chicago is over.
According to reports, Noah is likely to sign with the New York Knicks when free agency opens up on Friday, July 1. Multiple teams are interested in Noah’s services, but the Knicks are the frontrunner and his preferred destination according to the report.
The 31-year-old was born in New York City and spends time there during the offseasons. With a rift between Noah and the Bulls organization developing last season, the center was all but gone as the offseason began.
A report by the Chicago Sun Times’ Joe Cowley in May stated that Noah told his teammates he was done with the Bulls. It cited that there is mistrust between players and general manager Gar Forman:
According to the player, former coach Tom Thibodeau was always able to shield the players from the front office, having them buy into the idea that it was “us against them.’’
However, Hoiberg was deemed a Forman hire, so that wall was very blurry.
What the players have been trying to figure out in building their relationship with Hoiberg has been exactly how tied the coach is with Forman.
“They might not be as tight as everyone, including Gar, thinks,’’ one league source said of the Hoiberg-Forman relationship.
That remains a very important issue moving forward for this team.
“We know there’s at least one assistant [coach] that tells Gar everything that goes on,’’ the player said. “There’s a lot of guys that have a problem with that, and not just Jo.’’
If Noah does indeed sign with the Knicks, he will be reunited with teammate Derrick Rose who the Bulls traded to New York just a week ago.
Contracts cannot be signed until July 7, but teams and players can come to a verbal agreement beginning at 12:01 a.m. EST Friday morning.