Noah stands behind Del Negro

Joakim Noah had a breakout season, and he's not forgetting the guy who gave him a shot.

"Yeah I endorse Vinny [Del Negro]," Noah said on Wednesday. "He did a lot for me as a player. He gave me a chance to play."

The Bulls coach has been under fire for most of this season with some reports saying he was done months ago. But the Bulls rallied to a 41-41 record and made the playoffs, getting eliminated by the Cavaliers in five games.

Noah was a bright spot. He averaged a little over 6.7 points and 6.6 rebounds over his first two seasons with the Bulls but upped those numbers to 10.7 and 11.0 this year. He was even more impressive in the playoffs, going for 14.8 points and 13.0 rebounds per contest.

"I think a lot of good things came from this season," he said. "We're a young team with a bright future. Hopefully we can sign somebody for a lot of money and they can come here and we can win a lot of basketball games and everyone can be happy."

Pressed to guess whom the Bulls might pursue with some of the biggest cap space in the league and a sparkling 2010 free-agent class that contains LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, Noah said: "Who, who, who … that's the question."

He paused before saying: "I don't know."