Anthony Davis is back in his hometown of Chicago for the Los Angeles Lakers’ game on Tuesday against the Chicago Bulls, so you can imagine his looming free agency came up.
As it turns out, Davis wasn’t even safe from questions about the matter from students of his alma mater, Perspectives Charter School. During an event in which he surprised the school's boys and girls basketball teams, Davis was asked about possibly joining the Bulls in the future.
His response did not rule the idea out, though he didn’t exactly endorse a move either, as captured by ESPN’s Eric Woodyard.
"Honestly, it's nothing like playing at home. I don't know ... I mean, I am a free agent next year, but we'll see. It's a possibility," Davis said before the event’s host saved him by requesting another question.
Davis praised the city later, saying he was excited for the NBA All-Star Game to visit the “Mecca of basketball” in February.
"Chicago is a fun city, and as of late, people started doubting that just because of all the stuff that's going on, but hopefully that weekend we're able to show people why Chicago is as great as we know that it is," Davis said. "All-Star is always a fun city and when you bring everybody back into the Mecca of basketball, it's always going to be great, so I'm excited for it and hopefully I'm able to be another All-Star and play in front of this home crowd, but I'll be here regardless."
There’s obviously a lot going on there, so let’s just break down some simple truths behind this situation:
Davis is a free agent this offseason. The power forward is set to be far and away the best player available in free agency next summer. The Lakers want to keep him. The Bulls would be thrilled to land him, as would any other team with cap space.
The Lakers gave up a lot for Davis. Outside of Kyle Kuzma, basically every young asset that wasn’t nailed down was sent to New Orleans for the superstar. Lonzo Ball. Brandon Ingram. Josh Hart. The No. 4 overall pick. Two more future first-rounders and two pick swaps. Given how much they mortgaged their future to build around Davis as LeBron James ages, losing Davis for nothing after one year would be a franchise-altering debacle for the Lakers. The team’s fans know that, and are understandably jittery about the prospect.
Davis made a big effort to join the Lakers and has seemed pretty happy in LA. James has done everything he could do to point to Davis as the franchise’s primary star, and Davis’ play through six games already has him established as an MVP candidate. This is all after Davis’ agent basically sabotaged the Boston Celtics’ effort to acquire him and received a fine for a public trade request. Davis could make all this talk go away by signing an extension, but there is little reason to believe he is rethinking his commitment to the Lakers at this point.
Davis isn’t going to tell a room filled with young Chicago fans that he will never sign with the Bulls. Why burn that bridge when you still seem to quite like your hometown? Davis also isn’t going to tell a room full of people where he wants to sign, because why would he do that either? Just about the only way for Davis to answer that question that keeps everyone relatively happy without hurting himself is what he did, give an open-ended non-answer and move on.
Add all that up, and you have a player that seems on track to stay with the Lakers, but isn’t going to undermine himself by predicting his own destination in November. Read into it how you want, just know that the tea leaves haven’t even begun to take shape for this situation.
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