Joakim Noah, Chicago Bulls talking contract extension


nba_noah_250.jpgHe’s one of the guys (along with Derrick Rose and Luol Deng) that the Bulls kept selling to free agents as an important part of their future, part of their core.

So the Bulls had better lock up Joakim Noah to a longer term deal. And, according to Noah, via, those talks are already underway.

Noah said his agent, Donald Dell, has already started discussing the parameters of a deal with Bulls general manager Gar Forman and the 25-year-old is confident the parties can work something out in the near future.

“Of course that’s the goal,” he told after a charity event for his Noah’s Arc Foundation in Queens on Friday night. “I’m not really worried about it. I think everything’s going to happen with time and at the end of the day, I’m really excited about the upcoming season.”

Noah is in the fourth year of his rookie deal; he will make $3.1 million this season, then would be a restricted free agent next summer.

The Bulls selling Noah as part of their future has to have driven up his price. Probably not as high as Rose, however, who should get a max or near-max deal next summer (under whatever the terms of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement are).

LeBron says “get it done” message was for both Cavaliers, Thompson

LeBron James
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Everything LeBron James does and says gets magnified and scrutinized.

So when he put out this photo on Instagram standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Tristan Thompson and the caption “get it done” it seemed a message to the Cavaliers.

Get it done!!!! Straight up. #MissMyBrother @realtristan13

A photo posted by LeBron James (@kingjames) on

LeBron clarified that on Sunday, saying this has become a distraction, and the message was for both sides to bend, as reported by Dave McMenamin of ESPN and Chris Haynes of the Plain Dealer.

When Thompson didn’t sign the qualifying offer he surrendered a lot of leverage, the Cavaliers don’t have to raise their five-year, $80 million offer — but reportedly they still would, a little. Thompson and his agent Rich Paul have pushed for a max contract, but that’s not happening.

At some point, the two sides will come to an agreement. For the Cavaliers, this is a distraction, their star is unhappy with that, and ultimately if they are going to make a title run they need the energy and rebounding Thompson brings (even if it is just off the bench). For Thompson, he can’t make up a year of lost salary, he has to come in and start getting paid at some point.

The two sides will get it done. Eventually. Likely before the season tips off.

China basketball qualifies for 2016 Olympics

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China has secured the ninth and final Olympic men’s basketball berth awarded this year.

China earned the bid to the 2016 Rio Games with a 78-67 win over the Philippines. 2016 first-round draft prospect Qi Zhou had 16 points and 14 rebounds, setting up the Olympics to be his big introduction to American fans.

Former NBA player Yi Jianlian won tournament MVP by averaging 16.7 points, 8.8 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 1.2 blocks per game.

This will be China’s ninth straight Olympic appearance.

The Philippines, who got 17 points from Andray Blatche in the final, will still go to an Olympic Qualifying Tournament next summer with a chance to reach Rio.