Davis was born and raised in Chicago. And yet, the five-time All-Star and MVP-caliber talent has no intention of playing here, according to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst.
I will say this: One of the worst-kept secrets in the league is that Anthony Davis does not want to play in Chicago, his hometown
If you listen to Windhorst and others on the many podcasts and articles popping up since Davis’s request went public, there are consistent themes that show just how low in stature the Chicago Bulls are. It’s not the franchise of Michael Jordan, it’s the “organizations win championships” ( decidedly not anymore) franchise of GarPax and Jerry Reinsdorf.
One sure sticking point with Davis and the Bulls is that the team currently stinks. His agent’s trade request explicitly mentioned a desire for ”a team that allows him a chance to win consistently and compete for a championship.”
So maybe chalk up the Bulls being out of the Davis sweepstakes as a matter of timing (you know management will). Any trade package required to get the superstar will leave even less on the team when he’s here.
But why, then, are the New York Knicks considered a possible trade partner?
(Pausing to think: what are the Bulls ‘preparing’ right now?)
The Knicks, like the Bulls, are terrible. They too are a big market franchise chasing a top pick in the draft, and will have ample cap space in the offseason. This isn’t a matter of the Bulls being unable to meet the Pelicans’ trade demands, the Bulls do have that potential top-5 pick and young prospects like Lauri Markkanen and Wendell Carter, Jr. on the roster. But if Davis doesn’t want to stay beyond his contract expiring in the summer of 2020, that changes what the Bulls are willing to offer.
So if the Knicks, long considered a laughing stock of the league, are a team Davis would consider being dealt to yet the Bulls aren’t, how poorly does that reflect on this franchise’s ownership and management?
It’s worse in that the answer couldn’t be more obvious. No superstar in the midst of their prime is willingly locking themselves to a franchise that has found itself falling down the standings while also constantly being embroiled in off-court dramas with players and coaches.
Players talk. John Paxson may consider it ‘outside voices’, but they know what goes on ‘in their building’ too. Hell, in the Bulls’ case, it’s been a public shit show for years. And just these last couple months we’ve seen: a disastrous coaching change leading to mutiny against an archaic and detrimental playing style, the mishandling of another ‘hometown guy’ in Jabari Parker, and multiple young players being initially misdiagnosed with long-term injuries.
Not-interim head coach Jim Boylen, with backing of Paxson, may say in response to this that ‘their program’ doesn’t want Davis anyway. That “Bulls” across the chest means some romantic idea of Chicago being a uniquely hard-working tough place, and maybe this means Davis doesn’t have the ‘grit’.
But “Bulls” never meant that. It’s meant a global brand buoyed by being in a major market popularized 25 years ago by a dynasty led by the greatest of all time. And that’s a huge advantage over a lot of franchises!
Instead, here in reality, the Bulls have somehow leapt the Knicks as the league’s go-to big market comedic relief. At least the Knicks have shown they’re willing to aggressively spend money, and have cleared out their organization as a result of previous failure. The only way the Bulls have shown to be uniquely Chicago is that they’re led by cronies with lifetime appointments.
In the content-fest in the aftermath of Davis’s trade request, there was a lot of talk about him not only wanting to win, but going to a franchise that has some special appeal. That was called many things: “big market”, “glamour destination”, or “first-class organization”. You not only heard the Knicks joined with the Celtics and Lakers, but longer-shot teams like the Clippers and Nets at least mentioned.
The Bulls, the Chicago Bulls with 6 titles in their history, are instead dismissed and mocked. And they deserve it.
There was another trade request in the league yesterday, Marquese Chriss of the Rockets. Maybe it’s more the Bulls class of transaction to get in on that and gain more cash considerations. THAT’S the Chicago way.