Bulls reach contract agreement with Noah, sources say


Oct 3

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It wasn’t all bad news for the Bulls on Sunday.

While the team learned that free agent power forward Carlos Boozer would be lost with a fractured right hand, league sources confirmed the Bulls have come to an agreement with Joakim Noah on a contract extension.

Sources said the deal is for five years and is worth about $60 million. It would go into effect after this season.

An announcement is expected this week.

Noah would be just the second player from the rookie Class of 2007, along with Kevin Durant, to agree to an extension.

It would be a relief for the Bulls to sign Noah, especially with the potential for a lockout looming after this season with new rules that could alter dealings regarding contracts.

While Noah isn’t the team’s best player, in many respects he’s the heart and soul of the team with his hustle, determination and leadership.

The two sides seemed stalled over a deal in recent weeks with unconfirmed reports saying the Bulls were offering five years and $55 million or $57 million and Noah was seeking five years and anywhere from $65 million.

If the two sides could not come to an agreement by Nov. 1, Noah could be a restricted free agent after next season and then an unrestricted free agent.

But one concern was rules could change and maybe the free agency time periods would change.

For Noah, the risk was perhaps greater as a change in rules could theoretically limit what he could make, a tougher cap could limit the Bulls even making him an eight figure offer and if he wanted to pursue a bigger deal it might have to be with a small market team like Sacramento or Minnesota, hardly Noah lifestyle choices. Noah was also risking injury given his plantar fasciitis from last season, which seems to be healed.

Plus, the Bulls had made it pretty clear they were not going to deal Noah, even for Denver’s apparently unhappy Carmelo Anthony.

Noah was drafted ninth in 2007 and had his breakout season last year averaging 10.7 points and 11 rebounds, though he missed 18 games with foot problems. He’ll be 26 later this season.

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