Nobody on the Chicago Bulls was happy about the Luol Deng trade. Even the most ardent of Bulls salary capologists couldn’t have easily stomached a deal that sent away a two-time reining All-Star for no immediate rotation help, no likely first round draft picks (unless you’re really bullish on the future of the Sacramento Kings and Cleveland Cavaliers), and no real solution at the wing Deng used to occupy. The team’s front office isn’t attempting to force their team into losing most of their remaining 49 games, but things will be hard with Deng in Cleveland and the injured Derrick Rose out.

In the press conference explaining the deal, Bulls executive vice president of basketball operations John Paxson listed All-Star center Joakim Noah by name as a reason why he thinks the team Paxson helped put together will remain competitive even while planning for a luxury tax-free future. In the team’s first game since Deng was dealt, a 92-87 home win over the Phoenix Suns, Noah served notice why: Joakim may have missed 10 of 15 shots, but he played excellent defense while hauling in 16 rebounds, and continuing his improved presence as a facilitator by dishing six assists along with 14 points and a block.

Noah didn’t say anything to the media following the game. He didn’t say anything to the media prior to the game, or during that afternoon’s shootaround just before John Paxson’s press conference. Three days later, he’s still not talking to those who were hoping to record his thoughts prior to Friday night’s game against the Milwaukee Bucks.