Bulls' Noah says LeBron is the enemy
DEERFIELD, Ill. -- Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James is going to be the most sought after free agent in this summer's class, but Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah isn't worried about recruiting the reigning MVP. At least not yet.
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"Let's talk about that after the season," Noah told ESPN Chicago after Thursday morning's shootaround. "But I think right now he's not my friend.
"He's the enemy right now. I don't want to give him too much homage."
Noah and James had a verbal war of words during a game in early December. James and his teammates danced several times on the floor while the Cavs enjoyed a comfortable lead, but Noah said he has long since moved past the incident and doesn't hold any grudges.
"It doesn't bother me at all," he said.
As for who he would like to play with most from this summer's free-agent class, Noah was non-committal.
"There's a few guys that I would like to play with," he said. "But I think that I'm a live-in-the-moment guy. Like my coach from college, the great [University of Florida head coach] Billy Donovan told me, 'Live in the moment.'
"We're in a great position right now to make the playoffs. I'm cherishing this situation right here. And then once summer comes, we'll worry about the summer. But right now it's all about making the playoffs and what we have this season."
What the Bulls have at the moment is a Thursday night showdown with James and the Cavs. It's a game Noah and company desperately needs as they come in trailing the Toronto Raptors by a half game for the final playoff spot in the East.
Noah knows that it will not be easy to slow down James, but he believes his teammates are up for the challenge.
"How do you stop LeBron James?" he said. "It's a pretty hard task. But I think it takes a team effort. You don't really stop him. But you try to contain him as much as you can. You try to make things hard for him.
"There's a reason why he's one of the best players in the world. But right now we don't really care about all that. We're trying to make the playoffs -- play them. And set the tone."
Nick Friedell covers the Bulls for ESPNChicago.com.