Joakim Noah badly wants to bring an NBA championship back to Chicago soon, and the outspoken All-Star big man wasn’t shy about discussing what it’ll take to do it. Specifically, the Bulls need to beat LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers if they want any chance at winning the title, as Noah told ESPN Chicago:
“Every time LeBron steps onto the court he’s affecting the game,” Noah told ESPNChicago.com on Sunday during a promotional event for adidas. “He’s the best player in the game. But that being said, I think we have a chance to beat them. And that’s the goal. We want to beat LeBron James, we want to beat the Miami Heat, we want to beat all those teams who are in our way. He’s obviously one of the big obstacles.”
The heart and soul of the Bulls after two years mostly without former MVP Derrick Rose, Noah added that he’s not focusing on what LeBron does, but rather how the team is progressing. “It’s not about him. It’s about us,” Noah told ESPN. “It’s about our team and being the best team that we can be, then time will tell.”
The Bulls made a number of significant moves this offseason, but have failed to land a major star despite attempts at landing Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Love. Even though a deal for the latter remains possible, it’s likely Chicago walks away from this summer with Pau Gasol, Nikola Mirotic and first-round pick Doug McDermott as its big additions.
That’s nothing to brush away, but the Cavaliers remain the likely favorite in the East for next season given the presence of the best player on the planet. However, with the breakup of the Big Three in Miami, the conference looks as wide open as it has this decade. So while LeBron remains a monster hurdle, Cleveland’s young supporting cast could make for an interesting year out East.