Joakim Noah could return to Bulls after Billy Donovan hiring?
One of Billy Donovan’s former University of Florida players may be returning to Chicago to join him.
Donovan was officially hired as the new head coach of the Bulls on Tuesday. Nick Friedell of ESPN suggested that former Defensive Player of the Year Joakim Noah could now return to the Bulls, noting that Noah has “a great deal of respect” for Donovan and still loves Chicago.
Now that the Bulls have landed Donovan — the next move should be to sign Joakim Noah to be a veteran presence in the locker room. Noah has a great deal of respect for Donovan dating back to their days at Florida and still loves Chicago. He can be the Udonis Haslem for the Bulls.
— Nick Friedell (@NickFriedell) September 22, 2020
The 35-year-old Noah spent the final months of this season with the LA Clippers. Team reporter Lucas Hann notes he still has a non-guaranteed contract with the Clippers for next season. If Noah were to be released or traded as salary filler and bought out however, that could potentially open the door for a return to Chicago.
Noah has a non-guaranteed contract for next season with the Clippers–while he's a long shot to make the roster, I expect them to hold on to him for now in case his salary can be used as filler in a trade. In that case he'd likely be bought out wherever he lands. https://t.co/VH1BOYUXRk
— lifelong miami heat fan Lucas Hann (@LucasJHann) September 22, 2020
For what it’s worth, Noah had an Instagram post congratulating Donovan on getting the job with the Bulls. He also referred to Donovan as “family” in a statement to KC Johnson of the Chicago Tribune.
Joakim Noah is happy with the hire that the Chicago Bulls made.
(Picture via Noah’s IG) pic.twitter.com/Z5igYik0kg
— Daniel Greenberg (@ChiSportUpdates) September 22, 2020
Just talked to Joakim Noah: "I'm happy for the Bulls organization. They're getting a great coach, someone who is an unbelievable motivator and someone who is family to me."
— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) September 22, 2020
Noah was drafted by the Bulls in 2007 and had the best years of his career there before departing in 2016. Prior to that, he played three seasons under Donovan at Florida, winning back-to-back national titles in 2006 and 2007.
The former All-Star Noah might have some fences to mend if he were to return to Chicago. But the 2-for-1 reunion special with both Donovan and the Bulls would make for one heck of a homecoming for him.