Former Chicago Bulls Andres Nocioni is retiring from basketball at the end of this season.
Nocioni, currently playing for Real Madrid, announced his retirement on Twitter Monday. The three-time Spanish league champion finished his NBA career averaging 10.5 points and 4.5 rebounds a game.
After winning the gold medal in 2004 Olympics, Nocioni turned to the NBA. He was signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Chicago Bulls. The Bulls 2004 rookie class consisted of Ben Gordon, Luol Deng, Chris Duhon, and Nocioni. John Paxson effort to rebuild the franchise in his second year of VP of basketball operations looked very promising heading into the 2004-2005 season.
In his first season in Chicago, Nocioni played in 81 games posting 8.3 ppg, 4.8 rpg, and 1.5 apg in 23.4 mpg. A sharp shooter and a tough defender, Nocioni showed promise his rookie season and kept improving from that season on.
Nocioni’s best season on the Bulls came during the 2006-2007 season where he averaged 14.1 ppg and 5.7 apg. Under Scott Skiles, the Bulls went 49-33, good for 3rd in the Eastern Conference. Hinrich, Deng, Gordon, and Nocioni all averaged double figures in points and were leaders on a young team. Other contributors were Tyrus Thomas, Ben Wallace, Thabo Sefolosha, and Chris Duhon. After sweeping the Heat in the first round, the Bulls lost in the Conference Semifinals to the Pistons 4-2.
Those were the good old days of Bulls basketball. Even though I was very young at the time, I remember going to some of those games. Sitting in the United Center as a young Bulls fans, I reminisce watching the Captain Kirk cartoon on the jumbotron and wearing my Tyrus Thomas jersey. I think I still have that jersey somewhere. Classic.
Nocioni was a fan favorite and a big part of the lineup for his four and a half seasons in Chicago. Though the Bulls never had much success outside of the regular season, it was entertaining basketball with Nocioni and Gordon on the wings.
Following the 2006-2007 season, Nocioni became a restricted free agent and would re-sign to a five-year $38 million dollar deal. Being a pivotal part of the team in the previous two seasons, the deal was well-deserved.
Nocioni would play in all 82 games in the 2007-2008 season and average 13.2 points a game, shooting 36.4% from three. The Bulls would finish a horrid 33-49. Skiles would be fired on December 27th in that same season, finishing 165-172 as Bulls head coach.
On February 18, 2009, Nocioni tenure with the Bulls would end as he was traded in a package deal with Drew Gooden for John Salmons and Brad Miller. Nocioni would start the remaining 23 games for the Kings, averaging 13.7 points a game. Also, Nocioni would play for the Kings the next season but saw a decrease in minutes.
Nocioni finished his NBA career in Philadelphia. He was waived in March of 2012, leading him to return to his former team in Spain, Caja Laboral. And now where he is finishing his career, Nocioni signed a two-year contract in 2014. In 2015, Real Madrid won the EuroLeague and Nocioni won the Final Four MVP.
Nocioni’s basketball career never earned him an NBA all-star appearance, but he had flashes of being just that. In his first playoff games his rookie season, Nocioni dropped 25 points and grabbed 18 rebounds in 48 minutes. NOCIONI *clap clap clap clap clap* was the scene inside the UC that night, solidifying his name as a fan favorite during the early 2000’s on Madison St.