- Nick Friedell, ESPN Staff Writer
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Noah said his agent, Donald Dell, has already started discussing the parameters of a deal with Bulls general manager Gar Forman and the 25-year-old is confident the parties can work something out in the near future.
"Of course that's the goal," he told ESPNChicago.com after a charity event for his Noah's Arc Foundation in Queens on Friday night. "I'm not really worried about it. I think everything's going to happen with time and at the end of the day, I'm really excited about the upcoming season."
When reached by telephone Sunday night, Forman reiterated that it's the organization's policy not to speak publicly about contract negotiations.
Noah, who will make $3.1 million this season in the fourth year of his rookie deal, would become a restricted free agent next season unless the Bulls extend his contract.
The ongoing negotiations are a major reason why Noah decided not to play for the French National Team this summer during the World Championships in Turkey.
"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.
"The 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."
Speaking of next season, Noah is very pleased with all the moves the Bulls made, but even he wondered at times if he was part of the organization's future. There was speculation that he may be included in a potential sign-and-trade deal if it meant landing a combination of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and/or Chris Bosh in return.
"I thought about it a few times," he said. "I know that this is a business and anything can happen. But I'm really happy in Chicago. The fans are crazy about sports, they're crazy about it and I really didn't want to go.
"I think that we have something real special going on and I know that [Derrick] Rose is in the gym all day and I really love playing with him and I think we have a great team and a great group of guys with Taj Gibson, [Luol Deng] and everybody."
Nick Friedell covers the Bulls for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN 1000.
8dEthan Sherwood Strauss