"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.
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."
First, I think all Bulls fans are excited by the fact that Noah is prioritizing his health and commitment to the Bulls above his national team interests. It's certainly been a sticking point with some that Luol Deng has a fanatical commitment to Great Britain when many feel he should be resting and getting healthy.
I don't blame Luol for his commitment given his personal history, but I'm certainly happy that Joakim is putting his professional career first on his priority list.
As for the extension, I think this will be tough to get done and likely to leave a sour taste in Noah's mouth when it does. If you are Joakim Noah do you take less than the 13.3 million per year that David Lee just signed for? I don't think I do.
However, if you're the Bulls do you even consider paying 13.3 million this year? No way in hell.
If I'm the Bulls the absolute max I'd consider offering is probably around 11 million a season. This isn't a shot at Noah, whom I love, but the facts are that he has an injury prone frame, and could easily have a rough season. There's likely a lockout and a CBA that might make the absolute max he can sign for next season less than what you'd have to pay him this season.
If you gamble and wait until next year, how much worse can it really get from the 11 million you could offer now? Your downside is simply extremely limited.
That said, if I'm Noah, I'm not taking 11 million a season. I'm laughing at that. There should be enough cap room out there and few enough decent free agents that Noah will command a near max contract on the open market from some desperate team. If he has a healthy seasons and shows some improvement, then he could make 13-15 million a season starting next year.
All in all, this is a situation where both sides have every reason to not given in to the others demands, we'll have to wait and see how it plays out.