It turns out, the Bulls’ organization isn’t alone in selling false hope to the fan base.
Former Perspectives Charter standout Anthony Davis teased Chicago fans this week with the idea of somehow returning to play in his hometown, only to basically walk it back a day later.
Well, sort of.
While in town with the Lakers on Monday, Davis excited a basketball city during an appearance when answering a question about the possibility of playing for the Bulls.
“Honestly, there’s nothing like playing at home,’’ Davis said. “I don’t know. I mean, I am a free agent next year . . . but we will see. It’s a possibility.’’
When asked about it Tuesday during the Lakers’ morning shootaround, however, Davis assumed a different posture.
“I never said I’d consider anything,’’ Davis said. “I said that I’m focused on a championship with the Lakers, and, of course, everyone knows I’ll be a free agent next year, and I said we’ll see where it goes.’’
This flirtation likely will go nowhere.
If the Bulls were serious about going after Davis, their opening came and went last season, when he was still in New Orleans and was playing the trade-demand game. Davis’ camp provided a list of desired destinations, and the Bulls weren’t on it. But if the Bulls had really wanted a superstar on the roster, they could have made that leap of faith.
Here’s the problem with the entire Davis scenario: When the Bulls traded Bobby Portis and Jabari Parker to the Wizards last February, they got rid of two possible trade assets because both players were sitting on disposable contracts.
Another problem was they overestimated the value of their top prospect. An NBA executive told the Sun-Times last season that Lauri Markkanen was deemed all but untouchable. Of course, that’s when Markkanen’s stock was still high. His status has taken a hit this season.
Finally, there’s the blueprint the Bulls chose to follow this offseason.
The idea was to try to add a big-time free agent in the summer of 2021, especially with Otto Porter Jr. likely to opt in next season for just under $29 million before he becomes a free agent.
That 2021 offseason already is being called the “Summer of Giannis,’’ as Bucks big man Giannis Antetokounmpo headlines a free-agent class that also includes Kawhi Leonard, Paul George and LeBron James.
Davis is the big fish in the 2020 offseason, then there’s a huge drop-off. There just won’t be any cap room to go after him in an open-market scenario. That’s why Davis’ Chicago talk was so unrealistic.
“[Chicago has] got the best basketball players ever,’’ Davis said. “You look at the history with all the guys that made the league and even the guys that didn’t make the league. They say New York [is the mecca], but it’s not even close.’’
That’s nice for the fan base to hear, but it’s nothing more than Davis playing the game as a businessman, keeping all doors open.
That doesn’t mean Bulls coach Jim Boylen can’t dream. He compared Davis to some of the game’s all-time greats.
“The length and the instincts, defensively, he reminds me of [Hakeem] Olajuwon,’’ Boylen said. “He can block shots with both hands, can move both ways. I think he embraces being a stopper, embraces shutting down the paint.
“He’s like [Kevin] Garnett a little bit. He can cover the whole side of the floor by himself. He’s a one-man zone. . . . I think he has really embraced being a two-way player, and when he’s a two-way player, they’re really hard to beat.’’