Joakim Noah is getting richer this week


nba_noah_250.jpgJoakim Noah is not a free agent this summer. Guy is in the middle of his rookie deal, the Bulls could extend him right now, but they are focusing on bigger fish.

Which is just fine with Noah, he keeps getting richer just sitting there doing nothing.

That’s because the Bulls are using him to sell the franchise to others, as Marc Stein points out at TrueHoop.

But Noah also happens to be one of the Bulls’ major selling points to LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and especially Chris Bosh in free agency, because Chicago’s pitch to the top free agents centers around the fact that it already has an elite point guard (Rose) and a blossoming big man (Noah) in place…

Which brings us to one of the biggest hurdles Bulls chairman Jerry Reinsdorf has to clear if he wants to lure a LeBron-and-Bosh or Wade-and-Bosh combo to the Windy City.

The Bulls are insisting to free agents that Reinsdorf’s reputation as a reluctant spender is unfounded and that he’s willing to spend money when his team has the opportunity to win championships… Chicago, though, has never been a luxury-tax payer. So skepticism remains about Reinsdorf’s willingness to spend big money on Noah — when Rose is also eligible for a contract extension next summer — because two high-dollar free agents and two pricey extensions would almost certainly turn the Bulls into a tax team.

If the Bulls can move Luol Deng, it helps their bottom line. But the point is valid — when push comes to shove, will Reinsdorf spend? The push will come first from Noah.

Khris Middleton dunks, Jimmy Butler can’t stop him (VIDEO)

Leave a comment

Khris Middleton has more expectations and more pressure on him after a breakout season in Milwaukee, followed by him getting him PAID this summer.

Well, he looked pretty good on this play against the Bulls, making the steal then throwing down despite Jimmy Butler‘s efforts to stop him.

Middleton finished with 10 points on 5-of-7 shooting for the Bucks. However, Butler had the last laugh as he went off for 23 points on 12 shots and led the Bulls to the (meaningless) preseason win.

Somebody looks comfortable: Paul George drops 20 in first quarter

Leave a comment

Paul George‘s first experience starting as a power forward was going up against Anthony Davis — not just one of the best power forwards in the game, one of the handful of best players in the game period. That didn’t go well for George, and he wasn’t happy about it.

His second experience was in another preseason game Tuesday, going up against the Pistons and their four, Ersan İlyasova. He’s not quite as intimidating.

George scored 20 points on 7-of-8 shooting, 4-of-5 on threes — and that was just the first quarter (you can see it all in the video above).

As we have said before, George at the four is not a bad call by the Pacers, but some of that depends on the matchup. On the nights the Pacers face Davis or Blake Griffin or LaMarcus Aldridge or Zach Randolph (or a handful of others) the Pacers’ coaching staff is going to have to adjust. But there are a lot of nights where George at the four is going to force the other team to adjust, and that will play into the Pacers’ hands.