Updated: November 6, 2013 6:08AM
It’s gotta be the shoes, and that might be the reason center Joakim Noah is changing them.
Noah said Friday that his long-term shoe relationship with Le Coq Sportif had ended, and his feet are basically free agents. Well, free agents with a leader in the clubhouse.
Noah was sporting Adidas, which has a multimillion-dollar deal with guard Derrick Rose. But he did his best to slam the brakes on the idea that he would follow Rose’s lead.
“We didn’t decide yet,’’ Noah said. “I didn’t decide yet. I’m still deciding. I’m not with Adidas yet. We’ll see.’’
A lot had been made about the relationship between Noah and Le Coq Sportif because of the plantar fasciitis in his right foot the last two seasons. Even former teammate Nate Robinson teased Noah last season that he needed to get a different shoe.
Noah has never blamed the foot issues on the French manufacturer, but his shopping for a new company spoke loud and clear.
It appears Noah will have a few more days to make a decision. He’s sidelined with a groin injury and likely will miss the first two preseason games.
“I hurt my groin a little bit a couple of practices ago,’’ Noah said. “We’re just trying to be smart.’’
Rose was treated to the singing of “Happy Birthday’’ by the rookies Friday, but he might have suffered an ear injury.
“They were terrible,’’ Rose said, ‘‘but we’ll probably have to make them do a redo or something like that, make them do it over.’’
† Guard Kirk Hinrich, slowed by a sore back, practiced and expects to play Saturday against the Indiana Pacers.
Taj Gibson likely will start at center in place of Noah.