Joakim Noah may still be angry over the Chicago Bulls trading forward Luol Deng to the Cleveland Cavaliers, but there’s no way to tell for sure.
Since the surprise trade, Noah has been giving the media the silent treatment while reports say he is seething over the trade. Though Noah has gotten in trouble in the past for some of his statements, the media stonewalling is actually getting the forward in trouble with the NBA as it violates league media policies.
The quiet streak will likely be over soon — Joakim Noah said he will talk again after Saturday’s game against the Charlotte Bobcats.
The trade has been very difficult on Noah, who was close to Deng. Other players have expressed disappointment with the trade as well.
“Quite frankly, everybody’s down,” said Carlos Boozer. “I don’t know how else to put it. Everybody’s in a tough spot. We’re short a man right now, just lost one of our best players. Not even that, one of our brothers.”
While he may not yet be speaking to the press, behind closed doors Joakim Noah has been open about his feelings for Luol Deng. Bulls players say he rallied them in the locker room by challenging them to play for Deng.
“We talked about it,” Bulls forward Taj Gibson said. “Jo said he loves this game and he’s going to play exactly how Lu plays the game. We’re going to go out there and leave every ounce of energy and sweat on that court and know that you gave it your all. At the end of the day, all you can say is that you went out there, did your job, represented the team on your chest and played it to the fullest.”
The Bulls still have faith in Noah, despite his difficult time with his friend’s trade.
“Joakim is an emotional guy,” Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau said. “It’s good. It’s also what drives him. You don’t want to take that away from him. He’s fine. He’s close to Luol. When you play with anyone for a long time, you develop a closeness. Joakim responded, he got himself together and was ready to go.”
Joakim Noah and the Bulls have responded well on the court to the Luol Deng trade, winning both of their games since he was dealt.