The Los Angeles Lakers have some spending power this offseason with Kobe Bryant’s enormous contract finally coming off the books, and there is a void at the center position that they will be looking to fill.
There are several big men who will be available for the Lakers to target this summer; one of them being Joakim Noah, who has reportedly told his teammates that he will be leaving the Chicago Bulls, according to Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun Times:
Noah has been telling teammates in recent weeks that he was done with the organization once free agency begins, and ‘has no trust in the front office getting this in the right direction,’ according to a Bulls player.
Noah was the No. 9 overall pick by the Bulls in 2007 after he led the University of Florida to win the National Championship. Since his arrival in the league, Noah has been a dominant presence on the defensive end, who is known for playing with energy and heart.
Noah was demoted to the bench for the first time of his career this season, as the Bulls were stacked with big men. Noah was not able to finish the regular season due to an injury and his value within the Bulls organization seems to have plummeted.
Bill Duffy, Noah's agent: "Joakim and I speak on daily about his future. There has been zero indication he doesn't wish to return to Bulls."
— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) May 25, 2016
It will be interesting to see what kind of contract Noah will receive this offseason, but the Lakers could potentially be suitors as they are looking for a defensive-minded big to pair with Julius Randle. Hassan Whiteside and Festus Ezeli have both been rumored as potential targets for the Lakers, as has Bismack Biyombo, whose price tag has increased with his playoff performance.
The Roy Hibbert experiment did not work out well for the Lakers last season, but Noah with his energy, defense, and passing from the center position could be a great fit for them if he regains his All-Star form and stays healthy.