Joakim Noah was one of the most underrated players of his era.
Derrick Rose won 2011 MVP in part because voters wanted to recognize the Bulls’ 62-win season but didn’t fully appreciate the quality of his supporting cast. Noah led those complementary players – playing excellent and versatile defense and contributing offensively with screening, passing and other dirty work.
Noah eventually received more credit as he continued to play at a high level. He finished fourth in MVP voting, made All-NBA first team and won Defensive Player of the Year in 2014. His outspokenness – particularly about Cleveland – earned him more headlines.
Now – after stints with the Knicks, Grizzlies and Clippers – Noah will retire.
Shams Charania of The Athletic:
Plan is for the longtime Chicago star to eventually retire as a Bull.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) March 1, 2021
Noah disappointed in New York after the Knicks signed him to a big contract. But he proved surprisingly helpful in small roles in Memphis in L.A.
Still, the writing was on the wall when the Clippers waived Noah before the season. He’s now 36 and has injury issues.
Retiring with a certain team, once more of an NFL practice, has become increasingly common in the NBA – including with Chicago.
Most likely, the Bulls will sign Noah to an unguaranteed contract in the offseason then waive him. Chicago has a full roster now. Even if the Bulls open a roster spot, signing Noah at this point in the season would require giving him an actual payout. That won’t be the case in the summer.