Basketball / Sports

Bulls' Noah 'happy' for LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony

Even while promoting non-violence, Joakim Noah's competitiveness can't be caged.

"I'm happy for LeBron James," Noah said Friday. "He gets to go home. People are happy over there. But I really hope that we can kick his ass as many times as possible."

Noah spoke at an event by his Noah's Arc Foundation in Chicago. And even with James moving from the Miami Heat to the Cleveland Cavaliers, Noah is fired up about the Bulls' potential.

"Even when we sucked, I always felt like we had championship aspirations," he said. "I don't go into a game thinking we're going to lose. Ever. I don't care who we play against. But obviously, a lot of things need to go your way to win a championship. You have to be lucky. The chemistry has to be great.

"We feel like we've dealt with a lot of adversity. I think that that adversity will help us in the long run. Our team is hungry. Our team is working hours in the middle of the summer, guys are working out every day. Only time will tell. But it's exciting."

Noah participated actively in the Bulls' recruitment of Carmelo Anthony and Pau Gasol. He spoke highly of both players.

"Pau is somebody who is very, very smart," Noah said. "He's somebody who comes with a lot of experience. He's not just a great player. He's somebody who cares about the community as well. I'm excited to see him help us as well in trying to slow down the violence and help the kids out here in Chicago. It's very humbling to play with somebody who has won championships with his pedigree. He's somebody I can really learn from.

"(Anthony) did the right decision for him. We obviously recruited him pretty hard. I think he had to make the best decision for him. I'm really excited about our team the way it is. I think we're deeper. Me personally, I can't control where another man goes. If he feels like New York is the best position for him, I'm happy for him. At the end of the day, what I care about is this city and the Chicago Bulls."

Noah, who underwent minor arthroscopic surgery on his left knee at season's end, said he feels "great" and that his rehabilitation has had no setbacks.

(c)2014 Chicago Tribune

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