Joakim Noah, the soon-to-be free agent center, will consider the Los Angeles Lakers and Dallas Mavericks as potential destinations during the forthcoming offseason.
Both Lakers and Mavericks, desperate for an elite rim protector, will be armed with plenty of cap space this summer. Even though Noah doesn’t command a max contract, the veteran big man is expected to be offered a lucrative four-year deal to join his new team.
Noah, the former Defensive Player of the Year, was the heart and soul of the Chicago Bulls team for nine seasons. However, former coach Tom Thibodeau’s departure last season meant Noah was relegated to a bench role before a shoulder injury cut short his season back in January. Noah publicly denounced new coach Fred Hoiberg and admitted that the team had lost its defensive identity.
Granted that Noah is no longer the best rim protector in the league, the former Gator can still help out either Lakers or Mavericks fix their perennial defensive woes. While the Lakers are expected to let go off free agent Roy Hibbert, the Mavs are looking to upgrade from Zaza Pachulia.
Rick Carlisle perfect coach?
David Thorpe, popular NBA insider, reckons the Mavs would be the perfect landing spot for the former two-time All-Star. “I think his (Noah’s) go-to would be Dallas, who’s so desperate for that kind of energy again on defense. We know Rick Carlisle is so good at creating things and Joakim’s such a great ball handler. I think he would be amazing there,” he told Zach Lowe in his podcast.
Does Noah deserve a max contract? “A year ago he (Noah) was the best center in the league. You max those guys out. Here (in Chicago) he is coming off the bench, he doesn’t score,” added Thorpe.
Plan B for Lakers…
For the Lakers, Plan A would still be chasing Miami Heat big man Hassan Whiteside – who will also enter free agency. The other primary option would be Al Horford and perhaps trading for Sacramento Kings superstar DeMarcus Cousins. If Lakers strike out with Whiteside, Horford and Cousins, they are expected to aggressively pursue Noah.
Who would be the starting center for the Lakers next season? Will it be Joakim Noah?