If there is a young low-post player entering his prime, there’s a chance the Cleveland Cavaliers might be interested in them as they dangle their number one overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft as bait. Add Chicago’s Joakim Noah to that list as Chad Ford of ESPN reports:
But I think the Cavs’ preferred route would to be a trade that thins out their roster and adds a young veteran who could immediately lift the Cavs’ long-term chances. The Minnesota Timberwolves’ Kevin Love has been the most often mentioned pickup. But the Cavs also have their eye on several other bigs, including the Chicago Bulls’ Joakim Noah, the Portland Trail Blazers’ LaMarcus Aldridge and the Atlanta Hawks’ Al Horford.
At this point in his career, Joakim Noah’s value around the league couldn’t be higher. With Derrick Rose often injured, the Bulls have been forced to use Noah as a pseudo-point guard and it’s caused the spotlight on a middle of the pack Chicago Bulls team to shift toward him.
During the 2013-14 season, Noah averaged 12.1 points, 11.3 rebounds, and 5.4 assist per game, all career highs. Noah finished the season by being rewarded the Defensive Player of the Year award making him the first Bull to win the award since Michael Jordan.
On the Cleveland Cavaliers, Noah would be the perfect fit. He’s one of the five best defending centers in the NBA and his playmaking ability would open things up for the remainder of the team to operate. And as a veteran, he’s the leader this team has desperately needed since the departure of Lebron James.
But the Cavs chances of pulling Noah from the Bulls won’t be easy. The Bulls see themselves as a championship contender when fully healthy despite health not being in their favor the last two years thanks to Derrick Rose’s knees. Swapping Noah for the number one overall pick would immediately shorten Chicago’s title window despite giving them a piece to run with in the future.
The Cavaliers don’t need a veteran like Joakim Noah. While it’d catapult them into the Eastern Conference playoffs next season, it shortens their chance to develop a team that can compete for the next few years. This wouldn’t be the first time Cleveland has attempted to shortcut the rebuild, but with their third number one overall pick in the last four years, it’s about time they focus on player development instead of instant contention. If the talent is there, the playoffs will come.
Besides, Joakim Noah hates Cleveland. I can’t imagine how that relationship would work out.