Joakim Noah Will Net Extra Half Million If He Lands All-NBA 1st Team Nod

Joe Flynn@@ChinaJoeFlynnContributor IMarch 15, 2014

Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah, right, blocks a shot by Sacramento Kings forward Jason Thompson during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Chicago on Saturday, March 15, 2014. The Bulls won 94-87. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press

Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah is having the season of his lifea season that could quite possibly end with him being named to the All-NBA first team. 

If he does indeed receive that honor, he will also be getting a substantial check from his team, per the Chicago Sun-Times' Joe Cowley:

Joakim Noah doesn’t want to get involved with all the hype surrounding his candidacy as a first-team All-NBA performer.

But he might want to start, considering he has a $500,000 bonus check coming his way if he receives that honor at the end of the regular season.

Noah has never received All-NBA recognition—first-, second- or third-team—but is absolutely in contention for first-team honors this season.

As is usually the case with Noah, his candidacy goes way beyond the numbers. His traditional counting stats—12.2 points, 11.3 rebounds and 4.9 assists per game—don't exactly knock you out, but his impact on a Chicago team decimated by injury and trades has been undeniable.

First he had to deal with the loss of former MVP point guard Derrick Rose, who was lost to knee surgery early in the season. But Noah and the Bulls have overcome that loss before.

Then general manager Gar Forman traded former All-Star and franchise stalwart Luol Deng to the Cleveland Cavaliers, which shook the Bulls to their core. Noah did not speak to the media for several days after the trade, but eventually regrouped and issued a rallying statement to ESPN Chicago's Nick Friedell:

The trade definitely hurt. But we got to move on. I feel confident in this team; we're working really hard. A lot of people say this is a business and all that but this game is more than a business to me. I put everything I got into this. 

If anyone doubted Noah's sincerity, he quickly put such doubts to rest with his play. He raised his game—particularly rebounding and passing—after Deng departed for Cleveland. In the 32 games since the trade, Noah has averaged 13.4 points, 12.4 rebounds and 6.3 assists per game. 

To put those assists into perspective, only one center (Wilt Chamberlain) has ever averaged more than 6.3 dimes in a single season.

Joakim Noah might just be the favorite to be named to the All-NBA first team. If he makes it, that $500,000 check will be quite deserved.


*All statistics courtesy of Basketball-Reference.