Anthony Davis teases signing with the Bulls

Matthew Rago, Editor-in-Chief

Make no mistake about it, the Los Angeles Lakers are the heavy favorites to re-sign superstar power forward, Anthony Davis, this upcoming offseason. However, Davis hasn’t ruled out playing in his hometown of Chicago, which he refers to as “the Mecca of basketball.”

Davis visited the United Center last Tuesday for the first time as a Laker, scoring 15 points and adding seven rebounds. Chicago basketball fans are intimately familiar with just how dominant Davis, a product of Perspectives High School on the South Side of Chicago, is on the court. So when asked whether he would consider forgoing an extended stay in Los Angeles, the room filled with an anticipation punctuated only by nervous laughter.

“I don’t know,” replied Davis. “I mean, I am a free agent next year, but we’ll see. It’s a possibility.”

Bulls fans have seen this story before. A big name free agent promising to consider the Bulls’ once-proud franchise as a free agent destination before eventually balking at the idea and signing elsewhere. However, Davis’s statement feels different. He’s shown himself to be invested in the community. He respects the rich history and culture Chicago basketball has to offer. He’s aware of the talent that is born and raised in the streets of The Windy City, a list that includes legends such as Isiah Thomas and Dwayne Wade alongside current NBA players Derrick Rose and Patrick Beverly.

“We’ve got the best basketball players,” said Davis, speaking of Chicago’s reputation for producing premier basketball talent. “You look at the history with all the guys we’ve got that made the league and even the guys that didn’t make the league. They say New York, but it’s not even close.”

However, prying Davis away from a championship-calibre Lakers team will be no simple task. The Bulls have been languishing in mediocrity ever since Rose’s catastrophic injury in the first round of the 2012 playoffs. Even before then, the Bulls had difficulty recruiting superstar players, often settling for secondary and tertiary stars such as Pau Gasol and Carlos Boozer. 

But Davis’s willingness to publicly entertain the possibility of a homecoming offers Bulls’ fans the faintest of hopes. Should Davis spurn LeBron James and the Lakers and opt to return to Chicago, he’d undoubtedly receive a hero’s welcome. Perhaps the city would organize a parade on his behalf, similar to the one Miami organized to celebrate the arrival of Chris Bosh and LeBron James. But he’d also be tasked with spearheading a Bulls’ return to relevance alongside Zach Lavine and Lauri Markannen. 

However, acknowledging the Bulls retrogressive beginning to the 2019-20 season and general manager Gar Forman and Vice President of Basketball Operations John Paxson’s penchant for alienating the NBA’s foremost talent, Davis’ return to Chicago feels like a pipedream at this point in time.

But considering that the Chicago Bulls have sleepwalked through the first 10 games of the season, perhaps dreaming isn’t all that bad.