Chicago Bulls' Joakim Noah Passes on Worlds To Focus on New Deal

Michael GibbonsCorrespondent IIAugust 9, 2010

CHICAGO - APRIL 25: Joakim Noah #13 of the Chicago Bulls puts up a shot over Antawn Jamison #4 of the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2010 NBA Playoffs at the United Center on April 25, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. The Cavaliers defeated the Bulls 121-98. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Joakim Noah is passing on a dream.

Noah has decided to say no to playing for the French National Basketball team in the upcoming World Championships that will be held in Turkey later this month. He is also saying no to playing at Madison Square Garden on Sunday versus Team USA and current teammate Derrick Rose.

"The Olympics is something I'm definitely looking forward to, and it's really tough because I know the French team is playing in [Madison Square] Garden against Team USA [this Sunday in New York] and that's kind of something that I want to do. But I understand that [playing for the French national team] wouldn't be the right thing to do right now because I still came off a pretty tough injury with the plantar fasciitis and I want to be a hundred percent for the season."

The reason for saying no is that Noah wants to focus on signing a long term deal with the Chicago Bulls before the October 31 deadline.

"I came off a pretty tough injury with the plantar fasciitis and we're negotiating my contract right now that's basically going to get me financially set for a little while so I can't really mess that up," he said. "My priority is definitely with the Bulls right now."

I have been trying to find an answer all summer to the question if Noah would play and I guess this answers why I was unable to get an answer.

If the Bulls are unable to come to terms on a new deal by October 31 it would allow Noah to become an unrestricted free agent next summer.

There are two ways of thinking here:

1. Lock up a talented young player long term and not allow anyone to force your hand.

2. Wait till next summer and allow the market to determine what Noah is worth.

The Bulls have gone the first way once before when they locked up Luol Deng and Kirk Hinrich a few years ago. They have also gone the second way with Ben Gordon who ended up playing on the one year restricted contract offer and then left the Bulls the next year as an unrestricted free agent.

The one big plus to waiting till next summer is that the NBA will most likely be operating under a new Collective Bargaining Agreement that could help keep Noah for much less and probably not as long.

For Noah, it is definitely in his best interest to sign his deal while it may not be best for the Bulls. However, if they wait for next summer, they will also have to work on signing Derrick Rose to a long term extension and do they really want to worry about locking them both up at the same time.

I would personally use the new CBA as leverage to get Noah to agree to a long term deal for the max years, while taking maybe a little less then he thinks he is worth. If he says no, then see how he plays this season and how he holds up with the injury and go back to the table next July.

The Bulls have to be looking long term because once Rose and Noah get their new deals, they will be entering the luxury tax zone, which they will stay in for some time so they must be smart.

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