The Los Angeles Lakers have been in the mix of many rumors this season and with the free agency market soon to open, rumors are swelling that they are realistically trying to sign up Chicago Bulls forward Joakim Noah, who is also being eyed by the New York Knicks for next season.
Noah has been under the radar lately and his name has been included on the Lakers list of targets this summer that also includes Kevin Durant, DeMar DeRozan, Al Horford, Hassan Whiteside, Harrison Barnes, Nicolas Batum and Ryan Anderson. But among the list Noah has come out as the most realistic candidate which also comes with realistic numbers in his contract.
Noah is an unrestricted free agent who has a $13.4 million base salary towards the end of this season. A marketable offer from the Lakers would see Noah donning the gold and purple uniform next season, not to mention his leadership abilities both in and out of the court when it comes to young players.
Coming off a serious shoulder injury, Noah’s market value is sure to come cheaper, but the Lakers are willing to give the two-time NBA All-Defensive First Team member a hefty contract to be part of their rebuilding process. With Luke Walton’s run-and-gun style of play, Noah will for sure fit in the system with his high energy level of play that could certainly blend well with D’Angelo Russell, Jordan Clarkson, Julius Randle and the rest of the Lakers roster.
However, the Lakers must make a very convincing offer for Noah as teams such as the New York Knicks are also after the prizes forward/center. According to Bleacher Report’s Howard Beck, the Knicks will be on a strong pursue with Noah, who has his roots in New York adding that Noah also has a good relationship with Knicks president of basketball operations, Phil Jackson.
LRT: If Noah's leaving Bulls, expect Knicks to make a strong pitch. Phil Jackson and Noah have a rapport. And Noah has NY roots.
— Howard Beck (@HowardBeck) May 25, 2016
Having Noah in their roster could bolster their protection inside the paint as they have Kristaps Porzingis and Robin Lopez at the helm. Adding Noah to that group gives the Knicks the strong paint defenders they need, who could protect the rim and at the same time secure rebounds to their cause.
Aside from the Lakers and the Knicks, also lurking along the sidelines waiting for the right opportunity to make a pitch with Noah is the Brooklyn Nets and according to Manan Modi of Sports Illustrated’s Fansided, Nets general manager Sean Marks and new coach Kenny Atkinson could offer Noah the “honesty and culture” he seeks on a team.
“Atkinson, as recently seen in his introductory press conference, discussed his childhood in New York – this can possibly be a bridge used to connect Noah to the Nets. If Sean Marks is attempting to implement elements of San Antonio’s culture along with his other, previous experiences, the lesson learned is that age doesn’t matter. Rather, it is about team chemistry, trust, and collective interest – and age should not impede those factors in any way,” Modi noted.
With all things said and done, Noah will still have the final say about where he would choose to play next season. But for sure the Lakers, Knicks, and Nets will busy getting his attention to signing up with them this summer.
Photo Courtesy: GsusLlanos/Wikimedia