Is there still a path to the Chicago Bulls bringing Anthony Davis home? Earlier this summer, Bulls general manager Marc Eversley said that he did not foresee a singular act that could get the Bulls over the hump.
They went about their offseason as planned, filling out positions 8-through-12 with better options.
Some of that was just getting players healthy.
Interestingly, it is health that could play a part in the Bulls’ odds of prying Davis away from Los Angeles and the organization he essentially forced his way out of New Orleans for following the 2019 season.
Davis to Bulls Could Happen
There is always intrigue when a star is linked to their hometown team. But Davis has always seemed like a pipe dream for the Bulls. Whether it is because of his Green Bay Packers fandom or the trade to – and subsequent contract signed with – the Lakers.
However, one Western Conference executive tells Heavy’s Sean Deveney that a Davis coming home to Chicago is indeed a possibility.
“The main way it would happen if it was going to happen was to get Davis somewhere he wants to go, and the main place he’d want to go is Chicago, where he’s from. Now, some guys do not want to play in their hometown but I think AD would welcome that, he spoke on that before.”
Davis once told K.C. Johnson, then with the Chicago Tribune, that it was a possibility during a Nike Rise Camp in 2019.
“I mean, (this is) definitely hometown,” he said. “If the opportunity ever presents itself and when that time comes, I’d definitely consider it.”
At the time, the Bulls were in the middle of back-to-back 22-win seasons.
That led most to conclude that it would be an even longer shot that Davis would eventually wear his hometown team’s uniform.
How the Bulls Could Land Davis
Davis has experienced the highest highs and lowest lows with the Lakers. He won a championship in 2020, the pinnacle of the domestic product. But he has also appeared in just 76 games total over the last two seasons.
That could potentially drive the Lakers’ asking price down to an acceptable (and realistic) price point for the Bulls to be in the mix.
“I am sure some in L.A. would expect a big return for Davis,” the executive told Deveney, “but with the injuries the last few years, it would be tough to trade him. There’s a lot of reasons why they’d keep him but that is one — you’re not going to get fair value because of the injuries.”
It is not as if Davis hasn’t dealt with injuries before.
But as Bulls guard Alex Caruso pointed out, the spotlight is brighter and always on in Los Angeles, particularly, for the Lakers.
Perhaps that could lead Davis to follow through on his musings.
Why the Bulls Won’t Land Davis
Even the executive expresses some doubt about Davis potentially leaving the Lakers for the Bulls. Just two years removed from a championship, there is probably little desire to end the relationship at this point.
Especially after LeBron James just signed an extension that runs through 2025.
Additionally, the executive’s thought’s on a potential package would seem to be a major roadblock from the Bulls’ perspective.
“Doesn’t mean it would happen, they have not gone out and tried to trade him, but there could be something simple like Zach LaVine for AD, you get a pair of guys going to places they really want to be. It would have to wait until January but that would be the deal that makes the most sense if AD is going to change teams. “
Chicago just handed LaVine a five-year, $215 million contract – the largest in franchise history.
The likelihood that they are looking to then flip him for Davis would seem to go against their ethos of the offseason: continuity.
Making the Money Work
Davis is still owed over $78 million guaranteed over the next two years. DeRozan just turned 33 years old and has two years and $56 million on his contract. The Bulls would have to add salary like the oft-discussed Coby White to make a deal work.
But that would also satisfy the executive’s idea of getting players to where they “want” to be.
Still, it goes against the Bulls’ model for this offseason, though, putting a potential Davis deal even further down the road.
At least until after the 2024 season when he can decline his $43 million player option and become an unrestricted free agent. The Bulls will have just four players under contract at that point so, theoretically, they would be able to sign Davis straight up.