Chicago Bulls

Bulls' Noah on Garnett: 'He's a Dirty Player'

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Bulls' Noah on Garnett: 'He's a Dirty Player'

Sunday, Apr. 18, 2010
2:43 P.M.
By Aggrey Sam
CSNChicago.com

CLEVELAND Bulls center Joakim Noah hasnt necessarily endeared himself to Cavaliers fans, and if Chicago somehow gets past top-seeded Cleveland to advance to the Eastern Conference semifinals, a potential opponent might not be too happy with him either.

After Sundays Bulls practice in Cleveland, Noah was asked if he watched any other playoff games following Chicagos 96-83 loss to the Cavaliers on Saturday.

That was unbelievable yesterday, huh? That Boston-Miami game. Hes unbelievable, that guy? said Noah, referring to Celtics forward Kevin Garnett elbowing Miami swingman Quentin Richardson. Im going to say thishes a dirty player, man. Hes a dirty player. Thats messed up, man.

I dont know about a suspension, but hes always swinging elbows, man. I mean, Im hurting right now because of an elbow he threw, continued Noah, who obviously has a history with Boston from last springs epic Bulls-Celtics playoff series, although Garnett didnt play. Its one thing to be competitive and compete and all that, but dont be a dirty player.

He knows what hes doing. Its wrong.

Noah also pontificated about the city of Cleveland, in the wake of Cavaliers fans chanting, Noah sucks during Game 1, in response to Noahs pre-series shock the world comments after the Bulls regular-season finale, playoff-clinching win in Charlotte on Wednesday.

ClevelandI dont know about Cleveland, said Noah. There is nothing to do. Its bad, man. Its bad.

What, that Cleveland sucks? Noah, went on to sayin jest, when asked about whether the fans derision motivated himbefore turning serious. They played very well. Shaq is back and playing at a high level, and theyre on a mission right now.

Well see what were made of on Monday.

Although Noahs lightning-rod status may concern some, his teammates are supportive, knowing his emotion can be used to the Bulls benefit.

Oh, youve got to love him. I wish they were calling my name like that. Id love it, said Chicago point guard Derrick Rose. It would make me play harder. It should make him play harder. I just love playing away from home and shutting the crowd up, but its going to take some wins.

For that to occur, Noahs matchup against Cleveland center Shaquille ONeal must turn in the Bulls favor.

What do I have to do to wear Shaq out? Hopefully he wears himself out, Noah continued. Weve got to try to make it a track meet as much as possible.

You want me to give him all the credit in the whole world and then, what? said Noah, when asked about the difficulty of stopping ONeal, who dominated the paint, in contrast to the foul trouble Noah and Chicagos other big menrookie power forward Taj Gibson and backup center Brad Millerexperienced on Saturday. Guarding ONeal is as hard as it looks.

Despite their Game 1 loss, the Bulls were in high spirits during Sundays practice, continuing their theme of using the sessions to re-focus, loosen up and motivate themselves. For example, a round-robin game of one-on-one between reserves Jannero Pargo, James Johnson, Joe Alexander and Rob Kurz captivated the rest of the teamincluding Noah, even as he was being interviewed.

I remember when I used to do this with Tyrus and Big Pookie Jerome James my rookie year, said Noah. You get tired and you get really pissed off at the coaches. This is adversity in its rawest form.

Aggrey Sam is CSNChicago.coms Bulls Insider. Follow him @CSNBullsInsider on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Bulls information and his take on the team, the NBA and much more.

State of the Bulls: Stacked 2018 draft class

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USA TODAY

State of the Bulls: Stacked 2018 draft class

2018 draft class is loaded at the top

Quietly, you can bet Bulls' front office executives John Paxson and Gar Forman had a little celebration after hearing that prep star Marvin Bagley III was going to graduate from high school early and enroll at Duke for the 2017-18 season, making him eligible for the 2018 draft.

Bagley, a 6'11 power forward from Los Angeles, is being compared to longtime NBA star Chris Bosh, right down to his smooth left-handed shooting touch. Bagley averaged 24.6 points, 10.1 rebounds and two blocked shots during his junior season for Sierra Canyon H.S. He's also fared well against NBA competition at the highly-regarded Drew League in L.A. this summer. Bagley’s physical tools are off the charts, and you can count on Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski preparing him well for life in the NBA.

Most NBA scouts and execs expect the No. 1 overall pick to come down to either Bagley or Michael Porter Jr., who will play his one season of college basketball at Missouri. The 6'10 Porter averaged an amazing 34.8 points and 13.8 rebounds last season against Seattle high school competition. He's considered a more dynamic scorer than Bagley with more range on his jump shot. Some scouts believe he could quickly develop into one of the league's elite players with Kevin Durant-type length and shooting ability at the small forward position.

International swingman Luka Doncic is also highly coveted by NBA teams. The 6'8 swingman has excellent shooting range, and is also capable of creating his own shot with outstanding ball-handling ability. Forget the stereotype of European players being mechanical and unable to compete athletically, Doncic is capable of being an 18-20 point scorer in the NBA and should go in the top five next June. He's considered one of the best international prospects in the last decade.

Two 7-footers also will hear their names called early on draft night 2018. University of Arizona freshman DeAndre Ayton averaged 19.8 points and 12 rebounds in high school last season, while Texas freshman center Mohamed Bomba has an incredible 7-foot-9 wingspan. Sure, the NBA has moved away from the traditional low post center, but teams are still looking to acquire agile big men like Karl-Anthony Towns, Joel Embiid, DeAndre Jordan, Rudy Gobert and Hassan Whiteside. Depending on how they fare against top level college competition, Ayton and Bomba could round out the top five.

Other names to watch in the lottery portion of next year's draft include Texas A&M power forward Robert Williams, Michigan State's forward duo of Miles Bridges and Jaren Jackson Jr., and the latest one-and-dones from John Calipari's Kentucky program, center Nick Richards and small forward Jarred Vanderbilt.

In case you missed it, ESPN released its preseason win total expectations for the Eastern Conference on Wednesday, and the Bulls were dead last with a projected record of 26-56. Now, I'm not sure a team with veterans Dwyane Wade and Robin Lopez and the three young players acquired in the Jimmy Butler trade with Minnesota will be quite that bad, but if you're going to rebuild, the idea is to get the best draft pick possible, and the Bulls appear to be on course for a top-five selection depending on how the lottery falls.

If the Bulls are able to land an elite talent like Porter Jr., Bagley III or Doncic in the draft, then use their $40-50 million in cap space to land a couple of quality free agents, the rebuild might not be as painful as some fans are fearing.

Last dance for LeBron in Cleveland?

Well-connected NBA writer Chris Sheridan dropped this bomb on Twitter Wednesday, quoting an NBA source, "This will be LeBron's final season in Cleveland. He is 100 percent leaving. Relationship with owners beyond repair." Don’t forget, Sheridan was the first national writer to report James was going to leave Miami to go back to Cleveland in 2014, so his reports definitely warrant a little extra attention.

Okay, we've already heard countless rumors about James planning to join the Lakers after next season. He's built a mansion in Brentwood, is close with Magic Johnson and will be able to bring another superstar with him to L.A. like Paul George or Russell Westbrook. Plus, the Lakers have a number of talented young players in place like Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Julius Randle, Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr. and a promising coach in Luke Walton.

Add in the likelihood Kyrie Irving will be traded before training camp opens and LeBron's long-standing poor relationship with Cavs' owner Dan Gilbert, and you have the perfect formula for another James' free agent decision next July. Although, I'm not sure why LeBron would want to go West, where Golden State is positioned to dominate the league for another five seasons, with strong challengers like the Rockets and Spurs still in place. 

But if we've learned anything from watching James over the years, he's clearly a man who wants to align the odds in his favor. So don't rule out anything when it comes to James' free agent decision. If the Cavs make a home run trade for Irving, maybe LeBron decided to plays out his career in his home state. If not, look for him to find a team with the cap space to bring in another top star to run with him.

Back in 2010, the Bulls carved out the cap space to add two max contract stars, but lost out to Pat Riley in Miami. This time around they won't be on James' July travel itinerary.

One thing we know for sure. Where LeBron plays in 2018 will be the number one story throughout the NBA season.

Report: Bulls expected to reach buyout agreement with Dwyane Wade

Report: Bulls expected to reach buyout agreement with Dwyane Wade

Dwyane Wade's homecoming may not last much longer. 

According to Nick Friedell's ESPN report, the Bulls are expected to reach a buyout agreement with the 12-time NBA All-Star "at some point in the next few months." 

The news comes two months after Wade picked up his player option, choosing $24 million over earning less on a more competitive team. 

If Gar Forman and John Paxson indeed decide to buy D-Wade out, the "Three Alphas," which consisted of Wade, Jimmy Butler and Rajon Rondo, would all be out just one season after coming together. 

The buyout may also mean more ping-pong balls in next year's stacked draft