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Noah: Happy for LeBron, but hopes to 'kick his ass many times as possible'

By James Herbert | NBA writer

Joakim Noah is looking forward to playing LeBron James and the Cavs.
Joakim Noah is looking forward to playing LeBron James and the Cavs. (USATSI)

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You have to love Joakim Noah. Everything's just more fun when he's involved. Asked about LeBron James going back to the Cleveland Cavaliers, at his foundation's event on Friday he was as quotable as ever, via the Chicago Tribune's K.C. Johnson:

"I'm happy for LeBron James," Noah said, a sly smile forming. "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."

This is the same Joakim Noah who called James' Heat "Hollywood as hell," the same Joakim Noah who made fun of the city of Cleveland multiple times years ago. The Chicago Bulls big man would probably love nothing more than to rekindle that rivalry. He's certainly confident about his team's chances:

"I'm really, really excited about the Bulls," Noah said. "(General manager Gar Forman) and (executive vice-president John Paxson) and everybody did a really good job. It just makes you want to work hard and be as ready as possible for the season.

"Even when we sucked, I always felt like we had championship aspirations. I don't go into a game thinking we're going to lose -- ever. I don't care who we play against. 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, which will help us in the long run. Our team is hungry."

Noah's leadership, along with his unique skillset, has been a big reason why the Bulls have defied expectations without Derrick Rose in the lineup for the last couple of seasons. With the additions they've made to the roster, if Rose is back to his old self they could be the Eastern Conference favorites, right up there with James and the Cavs. Here's hoping they meet again in the playoffs.
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