France's Joakim Noah Out for FIBA Worlds
Noah is eligible to sign a contract extension with the Bulls this summer, although the deal wouldn't take effect until 2011-12. Noah has reportedly been trying to get that deal in place ahead of training for the Worlds, but to no success. As such, instead of waiting on resolution any longer, French coach Vincent Collet has ruled out Noah for the tournament.
Noah would have been France's best big man, but rest assured that Les Bleus will manage, with Florent Pietrus, former French League MVP Alain Koffi, reigning French League MVP Ali Traore and Maverick prospect Ian Mahinmi, not to mention team captain Boris Diaw. But in missing Tony Parker, France could really use its top talent; no Noah will hurt against already superior Spain, as well as against teams like Greece, Argentina and Brazil.
Luckily, Nicolas Batum is in shape and ready to play. He'll reportedly play shooting guard for Collet, despite his long frame and experience at small forward. Depending on how France fares in the knockouts, Batum could be a real candidate for the all-tournament team.