Chicago Bulls steam engine, and Defensive Player of the Year, Joakim Noah underwent minor arthroscopic surgery after complaining about knee issues in Tuesday’s season-ending loss to the Wizards. The news certainly shed light on some of the team’s playoff woes as Noah looked visibly deterred by something during the series. Many speculated that it was the result of Noah mourning the loss of his longtime mentor Tyrone Green. It likely remained a factor, but the knee predicament is the likelier culprit.
Bulls management has announced that the fiery Noah will be sidelined for eight to 12 weeks following the surgery. Equally damning news is that Noah’s knee was a detriment throughout the latter half of the year. Coach Thibs admitted as much, saying “His knee has bothered him for a while. Probably the whole second half of the year.” Which begs the question: why push him to play so much down the stretch when the Bulls had no chance at contending this year, and, ultimately proved to offer little in competitive play come playoff time? Thibsball can be frustratingly head-scratching in that way.
During this time of rest, the Bulls will be pressed with bolstering a roster that could do little to score on a young, but tough, Wiz squad. Of course, the popular rumor is that Carmelo Anthony could be the answer to their scoring woes. But acquiring Anthony would put the Bulls in a pickle: to fit Anthony’s superstar salary, they’d have to give up Boozer (which most fans are OK with), Hinrich or Augustin, Dunleavy or Gibson, and possibly a draft pick or two. Losing everyone but Gibson seems like a doable sacrifice but would undoubtedly hurt roster depth. This presents a Catch-22: if a superstar is drawn to your team because of the talents on a roster, how do you lure them once you’ve given up those talents to get him?
In doesn’t make things easier that Anthony would stand to lose out on about $33 million if he becomes a Bull. The drop in pay might be worth the prospect of playing on a contender but Chicago’s contender status isn’t guaranteed considering that Noah and Rose are now coming off of injuries. Really, Anthony will probably remain a Knick.
Still, the Bulls need some the type of offense and athleticism that young Eastern Conference teams like the Raptors and the Wizards have hooked. As their first-round exit showed, an overachieving Chicago team has little room for setbacks, especially f they come in the form of a serious injury to your team’s best active player.