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Joakim Noah Thought The Bulls Were Getting LeBron James, Chris Bosh, And Dwyane Wade In 2010

Joakim Noah Thought The Bulls Were Getting LeBron James, Chris Bosh, And Dwyane Wade In 2010

Joakim Noah was one of those rare players who could change the course of a basketball game without scoring a single point. The defense, energy, and passion he provided for his team on a game-to-game basis helped cement his importance to the Bulls, who were a team very much in the title hunt for a few seasons.

At the height of their run, the Bulls had Derrick Rose, Luol Deng, Joakim Noah, Carlos Boozer, and many more talented players.

And while the Bulls failed to capture a title during the Rose/Noah era, they were good enough to earn the attention of several notable stars in free agency. In fact, Joakim Noah recently detailed in an interview that he believed his team was getting Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, and LeBron James in 2010.

“Chicago lost in the first round again, but hoarded cap space for two max-level superstars,” wrote Zach Lowe of ESPN. “LeBron James, Chris Bosh, and Wade were free agents. All three met with the Bulls. Noah lobbied Bosh. ‘When Chris came on his visit, I thought it was a done deal,’ Noah says. ‘I thought he’d take Dwyane, and if those two come, we’ll get LeBron.'”

Of course, we know how this story goes. Despite heavy recruiting by the Bulls, all three stars signed with the Miami Heat instead and left Noah in the dust, without so much as a phone call.

With owner Jerry Reinsdorf's blessing, the Bulls got to work on finding a path to land all three. They tried to move Deng to the LA Clippers, sources say, but were turned down. They talked to Toronto about a sign-and-trade for Bosh -- the Raptors began discussing Deng's fit and possible parameters of a deal, sources say -- to leave room to sign Wade and James.

Another of their young players, Joakim Noah, ended up as the primary player voice. Although Noah has a magnetic personality and developed into a star recruiter in his days at the University of Florida, he was not the franchise player. He also had an acrimonious relationship with James. Underscoring that, Noah called James that week, and James never called him back.

The Bulls and Heat would go on to become rivals during that time, with Noah and LeBron developing some beef with each other on the court.

It's fun to think about what could have happened (and what things would be like now) had any of the "Big Three" decided to head to Chicago instead.

Unfortunately, that's a scenario we'll have to leave in our dreams.