After a season spent diving for loose balls, playing with a bad knee and taking over as the facilitator in the Bulls’ offense, there’s little left for center Joakim Noah to do. How about recruiter? That might be his most valuable role for a franchise suddenly at a crossroads. According to several sources, including a teammate, Noah’s All-Star Weekend “conversation’’ with New York Knicks standout Carmelo Anthony didn’t end in New Orleans. They had discussions via text the rest of the season, including the day after the Bulls were eliminated in the playoffs by the Washington Wizards. “I was kidding Jo that they were boys now,’’ a source said in a phone interview Friday. “ ‘Well, get your boy to come to Chicago.’ ’’ When asked during the season about his heart-to-heart with Anthony, Noah was his usual coy self. “What are you talking about? The gossip going on?’’ Noah said. “I feel a lot of gossip. I think we all know that we’re in a good place. We’ve got a healthy group, it’s a healthy environment, and we’re not going to let gossip get in the way of what we’re doing. We’ve gone through so much this year, so it’s not going to be a little gossip that gets out there. “You want me to address that? I don’t feel like addressing it. I really have nothing to say.’’ Then after exit interviews Wednesday with members of the front office, Noah was asked if he expected changes this summer. “I don’t know,’’ Noah said. “That’s not my job.’’ But he’s obviously doing as much as he can to help the process along. Sources said Noah has been in Anthony’s ear as often as possible, and he has told other Bulls to push hard for Anthony this summer. But there is one condition: Backup big man Taj Gibson can’t be sacrificed. And there’s the kicker. For the Bulls to keep Noah, Gibson and point guard Derrick Rose, Anthony would have to be willing to sign a contract in the $14 million- to $15 million-a-year range, and general manager Gar Forman and vice president John Paxson would have to get creative with the rest of the roster.
Joakim Noah has been recruiting Carmelo Anthony
Chicago Sun-Times | May 3