Bulls need to bring Anthony Davis home if they truly want a title chase

SHARE Bulls need to bring Anthony Davis home if they truly want a title chase
SHARE Bulls need to bring Anthony Davis home if they truly want a title chase

“They’re working the phones.’’

That’s all the information coach Jim Boylen would provide when queried about the activities of general manager Gar Forman and vice president of basketball operations John Paxson over the weekend.

By Monday, it became apparent that the Bulls’ brain trust should be focused on one move.

Anthony Davis’ agent, Rich Paul, reportedly informed the New Orleans Pelicans of the obvious: His client has no plans to re-sign and would like to be traded by the Feb.  7 deadline.

Davis, who played at Perspectives-MSA in Chicago, is eligible to sign a five-year, $240 million extension this offseason and can become a free agent in the 2020 offseason. His camp is saying no to all of that.

The list of All-Star-caliber players who want to play alongside Davis is impressive. The line of NBA teams that covet him is deep.

If the Bulls don’t do everything possible to jump in that line, then shame on them.

The conversation with Paul — through “back channels,’’ of course — should be simple: If the Bulls can get Davis in a trade, would he sign a long-term deal to play in his hometown?

And the sweetener is just as simple: The Bulls would have the cap room to satisfy Davis, and friends, which would mean allowing the dynamic big man to play GM and recruit the 2019 free agents he wants to play with in an attempt to take over the weak Eastern Conference.

Kawhi Leonard? Come on down. Klay Thompson? Happy to have you.

But at what price for the Bulls?

Basically, everything.

It would signal the end of this mirage of a quick rebuild, based on what it will take to get the Pelicans engaged: Zach LaVine, Wendell Carter Jr. or Lauri Markkanen, a 2019 first-round pick and possibly a future first-rounder.

The front office would have to renounce the failing philosophy of building through the draft and accept that the NBA is about superstars wanting to play with other superstars.

Since 2008, only three championship teams have been built through the draft: the 2011 Dallas Mavericks, 2014 San Antonio Spurs and 2015 Golden State Warriors. And even those teams had some key free-agent/trade additions.

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Meanwhile, the so-called current model of building through the draft has been “The Process’’ in Philadelphia, which has landed Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons.

Fans, however, tend to forget the 76ers’ huge misses since 2010 — Evan Turner (No. 2 overall in 2010), Jahlil Okafor (No. 3 overall in 2015) and Markelle Fultz (No. 1 overall in 2017).

And as good as Embiid and Simmons are, they have one playoff series win.

The 76ers acquired former Bull Jimmy Butler this season because having only two All-Stars isn’t enough these days.

Trust that “Process’’? No, thanks.

The Bulls are a global brand operating like a mom-and-pop store.

Is handing Davis the keys to the mansion, the car and the pool house a big ask? Heck, yeah. But if the Bulls are truly committed to building a championship team like Paxson has insisted the last few years, it will require selling off a bit of their soul.

Rather than relying on lucky lottery-ball bounces and having to make guesses on player ceilings, how about they start dancing with that devil they know? All 6-10 of him, unibrow included.

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