One would be hard-pressed to find an NBA player who wants to defeat LeBron James more than Joakim Noah.
Speaking to ESPNChicago over the weekend, the Chicago Bulls All-Star center is well aware of what King James’s return to the Cleveland Cavaliers means to the NBA and how his rival will likely stand in Chi-Town’s way of reaching the Finals.
"Every time LeBron steps onto the court he's affecting the game," Noah told ESPNChicago on Sunday in Las Vegas during a promotional event for Adidas. "He's the best player in the game, but that being said, I think we have a chance to beat them. And that's the goal. We want to beat LeBron James, we want to beat the Miami Heat, we want to beat all those teams who are in our way. He's obviously one of the big obstacles."
Noah adds that when his Bulls run into James’s Cavs, it will be more about what Chicago does to beat Cleveland more than what LeBron can do to stop the Bulls.
"It's not about him. It's about us," Noah said. "It's about our team and being the best team that we can be, then time will tell."
They also added veteran guard Aaron Brooks and drafted small forward Doug McDermott, who is coming off a solid NBA Summer League, in addition to re-signing shooting guard Kirk Hinrich. If Derrick Rose is able to return healthy, then the Bulls might be the favorites in the Eastern Conference.
"It's hard to say because a lot of things have to go your way to win a championship and I understand that," Noah added. "But I know that it's a long grind; right now, to win a championship, you have to take it step by step. You have to be focused. You have to be healthy, you have to have good team chemistry, so there's a lot of factors. I think [the front office] put together a good core. And now, the only thing left to do is get to work and see how far we can take it."
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(Photos from left: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images,Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)