MIAMI — Zach LaVine openly said it: “I don’t know if I can go anywhere . . . I’ll be in Chicago for at least this year.’’
He added a wink and a smirk for effect. It was LaVine’s drop-the-mic moment this season.
Even if New Orleans’ Anthony Davis wanted to come back home to play in Chicago — a minor miracle — even if the basketball gods smiled upon the Bulls’ fan base and humbled general manager Gar Forman enough to see his own draft picks in a more realistic light, even if every domino lined up right and the Pelicans accepted a Bulls trade package for their superstar big man, it’s not happening.
Because of the contracts that would have to be swapped out, as well as the talent, LaVine undoubtedly would have to be included in any package for Davis. LaVine signed a four-year, $78 million extension this past summer when the Bulls opted to match an offer from the Kings.
And as LaVine was quick to point out Wednesday, that extension also gave him a no-trade clause for this first season, a power he has no problem wielding.
“It’s the NBA, man,’’ LaVine said when asked if there were concerns in the Bulls’ locker room about a trade for Davis. “You understand the business of it; at least I do. I’ve been traded before. You just have to understand that part of it.
‘‘Anthony Davis is a top — shoot, where do you put him? He’s definitely top-five, but on any given night, he can be the best player in the world. That’s the type of person he is, and if he wants to come home, that will be great, but you never know what’s going to happen.’’
When it was pointed out that he likely would be included in the deal, LaVine said, “Yeah, but I’ve got, like, a no-trade thing for my first year, so I don’t know if I can go anywhere.’’
Then came the wink and the “I’ll be in Chicago for at least this year’’ remark.
LaVine, who missed the game against the Heat because both ankles are bothering him, wasn’t done there, either.
When asked about tanking to get a chance to run with Duke freshman phenom Zion Williamson in the immediate future, he was more than complimentary of Williamson but insisted that tanking isn’t in his DNA.
“I mean, none of us wants to lose,’’ LaVine said. “I know I don’t. I go out there to win every night, and let the chips fall where they may. Some things you can’t [control], but I don’t go out there to lose, I know that.
“It’s not my decision who they’re going to draft, who is in the draft. You can already see where you might be placed, but I try to stay in the present. I try to go out there and do my job every day and try to get better with the team we have now, try to build something, get better with the things we’re doing.
‘‘But, yeah, that dude [Williamson] is a franchise-changer. You can already see it. He’s, what, 6-7, like 280, jumps like me, but he looks like an outside linebacker. He’s a freak of nature. Dude will change a franchise.’’