Boozer should join Noah, Deng as All-Stars

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Boozer should join Noah, Deng as All-Stars

DEERFIELD, ILL.Some might say Carlos Boozer picked up his game too late to be considered a legitimate All-Star candidate, but his coaches and teammates feel otherwise.

Boozer expressed his joy, via Twitter, in Joakim Noah and Luol Deng being named Eastern Conference All-Star reserves Thursday evening. But after Friday mornings shootaround at the Berto Center, Deng and Noah, as well as Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau, said that the power forward was also worthy of making the trip to Houston next month.

No question. I feel like I wouldnt be in this position right now if it wasnt for Carlos, especially," Noah said. "Hes somebody who demands so much attention because of how good he is offensively and Im able to get a lot of easy baskets because of Carlos, his passing ability. I feel like hes somebody whos very well-deserving and I feel like weve been through a lot in almost three years now together."

"You want to see all your teammates in the All-Star game," Deng added. "Thats how you feel. And I really mean this: I feel like Carlos Boozer and the way hes playing for us every night, rebounding, scoring his leadership, I really thought he was an All-Star this year. Even though he didnt get in, we know in this locker room he has stepped up his game huge.

RELATED: Noah, Deng excited about All-Star game for Bulls, each other

Thibodeau chimed in and added that he also felt Boozer was deserving of making the roster. The coach suggested that Boozer could make the game as an injury replacement, if that scenario came about.

As Ive said, these things are always tough because there is limited space and theres deserving players. Its a very difficult decision to make, Thibodeau said. I think Carlos has been unbelievable, so I think hes deserving and it would be a great honor.

Boozer was named last weeks Eastern Conference player of the week. Thibodeau equated Boozers situation with that of a player on the team the Bulls host Friday, Golden State point guard Stephen Curry, perceived as this years biggest snub.

One of the biggest perceived All-Star snubs was Golden State point guard Stephen Curry being left off the Western Conference reserves. Teammate David Lee did make the team for the much-improved Warriors, but the omission of Curry, a sharpshooting playmaker, was seen as glaring.

And Boozer is not the only one. I look at Golden State, and David Lee has had a terrific year, but Curry has been terrific as well, and hes very deserving, Thibodeau explained. To me, both of those guys are All-Star players, having All-Star type years, and theyre just not going to play in the game as of right now. That can always change.

Thibodeau impressed by Warriors, Jackson

Led by Curry and West All-Star reserve David Lee, the Warriors have been one of the leagues biggest surprises so far this season. Thibodeau was an assistant coach for the Knicks and Rockets when Golden States current head coach, Mark Jackson, played in New York and Houston toward the end of his long career.

Yeah I did. I had an opportunity to coach him, and a great leader, a great communicator, a lot of toughness, maybe not a great athlete he would probably argue that, but I loved coaching him, and hes a great person, Thibodeau said about the former NBA point guard, one of the leagues all-time assist leaders. Im thrilled for him, hes done a great job there.

Jackson and Thibodeau are both in their infancies in their head-coaching careers, but had vastly different paths, as Jackson, who worked as an NBA television analyst after his playing days, had never coached at any level before being hired by the Warriors. While Golden State struggled in his debut season a year ago, a defensive approach and improved health have made them one of the better teams in the Western Conference, even without the services of center Andrew Bogut.

Its a very deep team, very well put together," Thibodeau said. "I look at the players that they added from a year ago, and its impressive. You look at the impact that Jarrett Jack has had, and Carl Landry. Of course their young guys are guys that you really have to pay attention to, and theyre team guys. I think theyve made their team function extremely well, guys like Draymond Green, and Festus Ezeli, Harrison Barnes, and then all the players that are returning have improved. Curry is healthy, and they still dont have Bogut.

"David Lee has been terrific all year long. Klay Thompson, one of the best two guards in the league. They shoot the ball, they post the ball, they share the ball. They are playing terrific defense. They are very, very impressive."

Noah: A little weird to play with rivals

Joakim Noah, upon learning that he made the All-Star team Thursday evening, pondered playing with the likes of foes, such as Miamis LeBron James, Bostons Kevin Garnett and New Yorks Tyson Chandler, all of whom the Bulls center has had on-court confrontations with.

I thought about it a little bit last night. Its going to be a little weird. Youre competing against all these guys and you kind of see them as the enemy. Now, all of a sudden, youre going to be playing in a game with them, he said. Then, I realized we have a game today, so Im trying to just focus on the task at hand.

Ill probably have some good stories for you, he quipped. Ill be fine.

How Bulls could land a max free agent and re-sign E’Twaun Moore

How Bulls could land a max free agent and re-sign E’Twaun Moore

Quick note here because we are all eager to get back to our twitter feeds and wild speculation. Even though the Bulls will only have approximately $24 million in cap space, there is one situation in which they can sign a Tier 1 max player AND re-sign E’twaun Moore.

This all hinges on the deal (and discount) that Moore would give the Bulls. The Bulls have Early-Bird rights with Moore; that means they can potentially sign him to a deal and not eat into their cap space. There are a lot of rules into how this works and I won’t bore you with details, but the bottom line is that the Bulls can offer a 3-year deal for approx. $21 million or a 4-year deal for appox $28 million. If Moore accepts this contract, the Bulls just to have account for his ‘cap hold’ of $980,431 in free agency until the actual deal is signed. 

This potential deal would leave the Bulls approximately $23 million to spend, well above the $22.2 million it would take to land a Tier 1 (0-6 year NBA player) in free agency. This includes restricted free agent Harrison Barnes. Again, this only works if Moore doesn’t want to test free agency, or doesn’t receive a better offer in free agency. If Moore wants more money, the Bulls have to use their cap space to sign him to a larger deal.

One important key to any restricted free agent like Barnes, the Warriors will have 3 days to match any offer sheet that Barnes signs. Barnes can’t sign an offer sheet until July 7th, so the Warriors effectively will have until at least July 10th to make that decision. This prevents any team like the Bulls ‘swooping’ in and landing Barnes while Kevin Durant conducts his meetings in the Hamptons.

Reports: Joakim Noah likely to join Derrick Rose, sign with Knicks

Reports: Joakim Noah likely to join Derrick Rose, sign with Knicks

Multiple reports indicated that former Bulls center Joakim Noah will join Derrick Rose and sign with the New York Knicks.

Both the Washington Post and ESPN report that Noah is very likely to sign in New York, his hometown. ESPN's Marc Stein went so far as to say that other teams have already accepted that Noah is all but a done deal to sign with the Knicks.

And according to Tim Bontemps from the Washington Post, Noah's deal with the Knicks will have "a starting salary somewhere in the $18 million per year range," a large but not insane number considering the league's salary cap explosion this summer.

The Vertical's Shams Charania added that Noah will meet with Phil Jackson and the Knicks when free agency begins Friday night.

Noah would fill a void at center left by the Knicks' trade for Rose, which shipped center Robin Lopez back to Chicago. Noah averaged 4.3 points and 8.8 rebounds in 29 games last season before season-ending shoulder surgery in January. Noah spent the first nine seasons of his NBA career with the Bulls and was named Defensive Player of the Year just three short years ago.

But he fell out of grace with Bulls head coach Fred Hoiberg, who opted to bring Noah off the bench for the first time in his career. It was largely assumed that both Noah and Pau Gasol would not return to a Bulls team that missed the playoffs for the first time in eight seasons.

Teams can start negotiating with free agents on July 1, and can sign free agents beginning July 6.

Denzel Valentine: Bulls' versatility will 'make us so dangerous'

Denzel Valentine: Bulls' versatility will 'make us so dangerous'

The Bulls are undergoing a "retooling" in their backcourt after dealing Derrick Rose to the Knicks, drafting Denzel Valentine and attempting to re-sign E'Twaun Moore in free agency.

That, combined with Jimmy Butler, the addition of Jerian Grant and an already versatile frontcourt will give Fred Hoiberg plenty of options that Valentine believes will make the Bulls "dangerous" in 2016-17.

"I think that's going to make us so dangerous this year, is we are versatile with our guards," He said on Wednesday night's White Sox broadcast. "And in those three positions I feel like we're going to be able to guard and do a lot of things offensively and throw a lot at you when we're coming down on offense. And the defensive end, too.

"I think we're going to have a really good team this year with all that we have, and I'm glad to be part of the building year, or whatever you want to call it."

On paper the Bulls will have more versatility than a year ago. Valentine is capable of playing either wing position and can handle the ball, though he doesn't project as a point guard. Butler can play and defend four positions, and Grant is capable of playing either guard spot. Bringing back E'Twaun Moore would benefit that versatility greatly, as he's capable of playing on or off the ball.

In the frontcourt, the Bulls will need to replace Pau Gasol and Joakim Noah, neither of whom provided much versatility. Robin Lopez is entrenched at center, which will give the Bulls' stretch forwards Nikola Mirotic and Bobby Portis more room to roam the perimeter.

Wherever Valentine plays, and however Hoiberg uses him in Year 1, the Michigan State rookie said he's ready to do what's asked of him from a franchise known for winning.

"My job is to just come in, do what I can do best and just work on my game and try to lead as best as I can," he said on SportsTalk Live (in the video above). "I'm not coming in to step on anybody's toes but I'm going to do what I can to lead and be a good teammate and try to win some games."