'Point-center' Noah earns second career triple-double

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'Point-center' Noah earns second career triple-double

Death by point center, according to Celtics head coach Doc Rivers, is a sight to behold.

It kills you, the Maywood, Ill., native said after his teams 100-89 loss Tuesday night to his hometown Bulls at the United Center. Joakim Noahs terrific. Hes such a great passer. With Rose out, hes their point guard. He makes their decisions. I bet 10 times in the first half, the play clock runs down, he flashes to the ball and makes the play, either by scoring or with his passing. Hes just an extremely high I.Q. basketball player. Ive said it for years now and its getting higher and higher.

HIGHLIGHTS: Noah, Robinson lead Bulls over Celtics

When told of the former NBA point guards praises, Noah responded, DocI appreciate it.

I always tell everybody Im a point center anyway, but I always feel like I can pass the ball and I feel more comfortable with the offense. We have a lot of people who can score the ball in different ways. Lus a great cutter, Carlos catches almost any pass I can throw it almost anywhere, hell catch it so just everybody. I think it was a great team effort and weve just got to keep going, he continued after his 11-point, 13-rebound, 10-assist outing, the second triple-double of his NBA career. It feels great to play well and to win. Everybodys happy right now. I feel like were getting so much better as a team and even against the elite teams in the NBA, were competing against everybody and we have some tough games coming up, but lets enjoy this one tonight and get ready for New York.

Noah isnt big on statistical accomplishments, at least not discussing them with the media, but privately, he spoke of being inspired by watching the likes of retired NBA center Vlade Divac while growing up specifically in the 1996 Olympics, in person and being tutored by former Bull Brad Miller (ironically, Divacs replacement in Sacramento), one of the better passing big men of recent vintage.

Teammate Nate Robinson approved of that sentiment.

You guys are over here comparing him to Vlade Divac, which is a great comparison because he can pass, he can score, he can rebound, he can do everything. Jo is versatile. I love playing on the side of Joakim, he said. Jo plays hard, man. I feed off his energy every time Im out there with him. Hes an energy guy and thats something that a lot of coaches would love to have, a guy like Jo.

"He had a hell of a game, a triple-double. I was teasing him in the game, Jo, you need two more assists. Pass me the ball! He just plays the game for the love of it. If you watch him play, he plays with his heart on his sleeve, very emotional player. Me and him are kind of similar with our energy, so thats something that me and him cherish. I always tell him to bring the energy and thats what we do.

RELATED: Energetic Robinson sparks Bulls

Taj Gibson pondered the question of how many current NBA centers have nightly triple-double potential and could come up with only one, a player who the Bulls faced the previous night, Memphis Marc Gasol, except, Joakim is more athletic and he really can handle the ball.

Hes really New York when you look at him, the way he dribbles the ball. Before practice, he dribbles with a heavy ball to get his handles right and when he dribbles the ball, hes so fluid, and he just looks for players, continued Noahs fellow native New Yorker. Every time I see him at the top of the key or anywhere dribbling the ball, Im always ready to shoot and he always finds me.

Joakim did a phenomenal job of just distributing the ball.

Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau concurred: His skill set is so unique and it gives you the opportunity to play through the elbows more, get to more of a cutting game and then, hes very effective in the pick-and-roll. But he played with great energy. He just made the team function well on both ends of the floor.

Even after a big win and his individual achievement, however, Noah displayed the social conscience that has made him so beloved in the Windy City. If you havent noticed, hes shelved his trademark finger guns celebration after knocking down his Tornado jumper, in the wake of the recent school-shooting tragedy in Newtown, Conn.

Noah told CSNChicago.com: It wasnt just what happened in Connecticut. You just have to be kind of compassionate about whats going on, man. We have issues with guns. Gun violence in this country is out of control and youve just got to be sensitive to that. I love this country. This country did so much for me.

"But I think its important to be more critical and we have issues. I feel just as American as I do French and the issues are complicated, but youve got to be sensitive and a lot of kids are dying. In Chicago, a lot of kids are dying in the streets, so thats why Im not doing that anymore.

Why the 2016 free agency period could be a quiet one for Bulls

Why the 2016 free agency period could be a quiet one for Bulls

With the start of NBA free agency coming at 11:01 Central time on Thursday, prepare to be bombarded with news about meetings and potential signings.

But when the dust clears sometime in mid-July, don't be surprised if the only free agent transaction involving the Bulls is the re-signing of veteran guard E'Twaun Moore.

The reason for this is two-fold. First, the Bulls really like Moore. General manager Gar Forman praised the former Purdue star during the news conference to introduce top draft pick Denzel Valentine, and head coach Fred Hoiberg is also a big fan of Moore's versatility and toughness. Second, with just about every team in the league having significant cap room, the bidding war for second- and third-tier players could get out of the Bulls’ comfort zone and they might choose to keep their powder dry for a much deeper free agent class next year.

If the Bulls are able to re-sign Moore at a starting salary of somewhere between $8-10 million, don't be surprised if he begins the season as the starting point guard. Moore would definitely be the best defensive option at the position, and his size would allow the Bulls to switch on ball screens, with both guards (Moore and Jimmy Butler) able to defend taller players.

The Bulls do like the potential of former Notre Dame guard Jerian Grant, but at this point in his development a reserve role is probably best for the second year pro. Grant also has the ability to play off the ball at 6-foot-4, giving the Bulls another big guard with Butler and Valentine when Hoiberg wants to go to a small-ball line-up.

So, which external players might the Bulls be targeting in free agency? Remember, if they re-sign Moore at a starting salary of 8 million, that leaves them only about $16 million left to spend in what could turn out to be a crazy marketplace.

The Bulls could be looking to upgrade the small forward position, where Mike Dunleavy and Doug McDermott are the likely starting options. Kent Bazemore is an intriguing possibility, coming off his best season in Atlanta where he11.6 points and 5.1 rebounds while shooting 44 percent from the field. He’s also a tenacious defender with plenty of potential for growth at 27 years old.

But with every team looking to spend big dollars this summer, Bazemore's contract could approach the $20 million mark in Year 1, which might be too rich for the Bulls' taste.

Forman talked about a process of trying to make the roster younger and more athletic, which means the Bulls are unlikely to pursue free agents over the age of 30, unless they come on one year deals.

Several restricted free agent wings could be on the Bulls' radar, including Golden State's Harrison Barnes, who reportedly was seen visiting Chicago on Tuesday. Under normal circumstances, the Warriors would automatically match any offer for their talented young forward, but if Kevin Durant indicates he wants to team up with Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, the front office would willingly sacrifice Barnes and fellow restricted free agent Festus Ezeli, and trade away a veteran contract like Andrew Bogut or Andre Iguodala to create the cap room to make it happen.

You've probably heard about Barnes' connection with the Bulls. He was a high school teammate of Doug McDermott on a state championship team in Ames, Iowa. That's the same high school where Hoiberg starred, eventually picking up the nickname of the "Mayor" after an outstanding college career at Iowa State.

So, even though the Bulls are in the "re-tooling" process, Barnes has to sign an offer sheet somewhere to start the restricted free agent time clock. Why not Chicago?

As a Tier 1 free agent, a max offer to Barnes would start at $22.2 million, meaning the Bulls would have to move another contract (most likely Taj Gibson or Mike Dunleavy), or use the "stretch" provision to release Jose Calderon from the final year on his deal, which would save them about $5 million on next year's cap.

Golden State will have three days to match the offer sheet Barnes signs, which they will most certainly do if Durant stays in Oklahoma City or signs with a different team. But with none of the other contending teams expected to make a play for Barnes, it might be worth the Bulls tying up their cap room for a few days for a chance to acquire a 24-year-old who would fit perfectly in the offense Hoiberg wants to run. And yes, Barnes played poorly in the Finals, but his inclusion on the 12-man Team USA Olympic squad says a lot about what talent evaluators around the league think of his ability.

If not Barnes, keep an eye on a pair of Portland restricted free agents. 23-year-old Mo Harkless and 24-year-old Allen Crabbe both fit the profile of players Forman discussed - young and athletic with 3-point range. Portland made a big move in the standings to reach the playoffs last season, and their front office is looking at some of the top centers on the market such as Hassan Whiteside and Al Horford. The Blazers might not be willing to match a significant offer for one of their young wing players.

Other names to watch for the Bulls include restricted free agents Terrence Jones, Dion Waiters, Dwight Powell and Jared Sullinger, along with unrestricted wings like Evan Turner, Eric Gordon, Lance Stephenson, Jeff Green, Wesley Johnson, Solomon Hill, Brandon Bass, O.J. Mayo, P.J. Hairston and Derrick Williams.

The Bulls front office could also decide to just re-sign Moore and save the rest of their cap room for 2017, when the list of free agents includes Curry, Russell Westbrook, Kyle Lowry and Blake Griffin. Forman made it clear the "re-tooling" effort is likely a two-year process, with the Bulls hoping to add a pair of first-round picks next summer and also have enough cap room to be a significant player in free agency.

So, enjoy the whirlwind of information and rumors that will be flooding social media over the next couple weeks. Just don't expect any franchise-transforming moves from the Bulls this summer.

Carmelo Anthony: 'I'm glad (Derrick Rose) is on my team'

Carmelo Anthony: 'I'm glad (Derrick Rose) is on my team'

by Jonathan Joffe

Derrick Rose has a new fan now that he's in New York: Carmelo Anthony.

Rose's new teammate and fellow multi-time all-star is a happy to be teaming up with the former Bull.

In addition to complimenting Rose's game, Anthony applauded the Knicks' front office for making moves that allow the team to be competitive in the upcoming season.

It was once thought that Melo and D-Rose could sport the same uniform aside from Olympic competitions. While it won't be in Chicago, the two will be making that thought a reality in New York.

Report: Pau Gasol tells Bulls he has declined option, becoming a free agent

Report: Pau Gasol tells Bulls he has declined option, becoming a free agent

It shouldn't be a surprise to anyone, but Pau Gasol is hitting the market.

Gasol told the Bulls that he has declined his option for the 2016-17 season and will become a free agent, according to ESPN's Marc Stein.

The 35-year-old signed a three-year, $22.3 million deal with the Bulls in the summer of 2014.

In two seasons with the Bulls, he averaged 17.6 points per game and 11.4 rebounds and made an All-Star appearance.