Joakim Noah prefers to remain a Bull
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"It's part of the business," he said after a charity event at a local elementary school on Wednesday afternoon. "It's something that happens in sports and right now I just got to get ready and control the things that I can control as a player, and that's getting ready for the season. As far as I know I'm still a [member] of the Bulls today."
The 25 year-old center has heard the rumors that he may be on his way out of town and realizes his future is hanging in the balance.
"I understand what kind of caliber of player Carmelo Anthony is," he said. "I'm trying to stay positive. I've had some talks with [Bulls GM] Gar [Forman] and [John Paxson]. I'm really excited about the upcoming season. ... I can't control what happens in the situation, I think a lot of these questions that [media members] are asking me, you guys should ask the people that make the decisions."
A team source told ESPNChicago.com last week that Noah would not be involved in any Anthony deal, but rumors have persisted over the last few days that the Nuggets are more willing to make a deal and the Bulls are near the top of Anthony's wish list, alongside the New York Knicks.
"It's always a strange feeling because any given day you can get traded to a city that you don't know nothing about," he said. "My goal is I want to stay in Chicago and I think we can do something really special here and I hope I can be a part of it."
Noah acknowledged that his agent, Donald Dell, continues to work with Forman on a possible contract extension, but he was hesitant to shed any light on possible new developments.
"Right now, I'm in a situation where we're negotiating," he said. "But I don't think it's the right thing to do, to talk about it right now."
The usually gregarious Noah was still in good spirits, but there is no question the rumors are starting to take a bit of a toll on him.
"It happens," he said. "A lot of players on our team have dealt with things like this. I remember my rookie year some things we're going on with Kobe Bryant possibly coming ... Who knows? I'm not up there every day. I'm not the who's getting the calls. So I don't know what's true, what's a rumor and what's not."
Noah hopes the rumors blow over and he is able to enjoy being a cornerstone in Chicago alongside Derrick Rose.
"I think we have a chance to be very good," he said. "But I also understand right now it's all talk. You got to go out there and play the game the right way. I think that there's a lot of good teams out there and one thing I've learned throughout is that you can't take any teams lightly, and just because somebody says we have a chance to be a top four team we have to go out there and go get that ... we still have a lot of question marks. We're a team with a lot of new players, a new coach, and we just got to go out there and play to the best of our abilities and I think the best of our abilities will be pretty good."
The fourth-year center is still hoping there is some way he can play alongside Anthony, instead of being dealt for him.
"Obviously, Carmelo's a great player, but I think we're also very good right now," he said. "I really enjoy playing with guys like Luol Deng and Taj Gibson and other guys who are rumored in that trade. Either way, I think we'll be fine."
Nick Friedell covers the Bulls for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN 1000.