Joakim Noah once referred to themHeat as being “Hollywood as hell” after losing to them in the 2011 playoffs, so he probably wasn’t all that broken up about LeBron James leaving Miami to return to the Cavaliers this summer.
But no matter where LeBron plays (or who the perceived favorites in the East might be), Noah is always ready to welcome the challenge of competing against him.
“I’m happy for LeBron James,” Noah said Friday. “He gets to go home. People are happy over there. But I really hope that we can kick his ass as many times as possible.”
Noah spoke at an event by his Noah’s Arc Foundation on the city’s West Side. And even with James moving from the Miami Heat to the Cleveland Cavaliers, Noah is fired up about the Bulls’ potential.
“Even when we sucked, I always felt like we had championship aspirations,” he said. “I don’t go into a game thinking we’re going to lose. Ever. I don’t care who we play against. But obviously, a lot of things need to go your way to win a championship. You have to be lucky. The chemistry has to be great.
“We feel like we’ve dealt with a lot of adversity. I think that that adversity will help us in the long run. Our team is hungry. Our team is working hours in the middle of the summer, guys are working out every day. Only time will tell. But it’s exciting.”
The Bulls added Pau Gasol and Nikola Mirotic to the roster, and drafted a rookie shooter in Doug McDermott who should be able to contribute immediately as part of the rotation — all legitimate reasons for Noah to be excited about the upcoming season.
The biggest piece that has yet to settle is Kevin Love, of course, who the Bulls and the Cavaliers are both targeting by putting together offers to try to strike a deal in a trade with Minnesota.
Noah’s comments won’t be bulletin board material in Cleveland, nor should they be. It’s refreshing to hear players speak in phrases that aren’t tiresome platitudes, and we can only hope that more of them choose to do the same once they realize that they’re only providing entertainment to the fans, and not enraging their competition by doing so.