Not too long after ESPN Chicago ran a report saying the Bulls were considering adding Joakim Noah to their traded offer for Denver’s Carmelo Anthony—and you can follow the Bulls’ pursuit of Anthony in this StoryStream, if you choose—the network’s Marc Stein now says that the team is determined to keep Noah by locking him up with a contract extension. Writes Stein:
The sides have been negotiating quietly for weeks and sources close to the process say that sufficient progress has been made — although no deal is imminent — to all but guarantee that terms on a five-year extension will be reached before the Halloween deadline.
Though there’s no word yet on what sort of money Noah’s seeking, but it’s clear that right now he’s among the league’s best bargains. This season, the last of his rookie deal, Noah will earn $3.1 million, well below the league average salary of $5.7 million. If his salary were to triple, it wouldn’t be out of line with that of other starting centers in this league.
Noah has career averages of 7.9 points, 7.9 rebounds, and 1.3 blocks. However, the 25-year-old’s playing time has increased in each of his professional seasons, which means one can reasonably assume that last year’s numbers—which include 10.7 points, 11 rebounds, and 2.1 blocked shots in 30.1 minutes—are merely a baseline for his performance entering his prime years.