All-Star forward Anthony Davis is in the midst of his first campaign as a member of the Lakers after being traded to the team from the New Orleans Pelicans over the offseason, and things have been going well so far. Through six games, the Lakers lead the Western Conference with a 5-1 record, and Davis has been largely dominant. He has averaged 28.5 points, 11.5 rebounds, three blocks, 2.7 assists and one steal per game, and looked like an early MVP candidate.
As good as this season has started for the Lakers, it would be surprising for Davis — who requested a trade just last year to the Lakers — to sign elsewhere when he becomes a free agent this summer. On Monday, while in Chicago for the Lakers’ Tuesday night matchup against the Bulls, Davis made a surprise appearance for members of his Alma mater, Perspectives Charter School, at a local restaurant. There, Davis left the door open when asked about potentially playing for his hometown team, the Bulls, in the [near] future.
“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.”
This might make some Lakers fans weary, but during shootaround on Tuesday morning, Davis made it clear that the comments he made the night before does not mean that he’s thinking about playing for the Bulls next season.
“I never said I’d consider anything,” Davis said while swarmed by at least 20 reporters. “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.”
That answer still doesn’t inspire a ton of confidence if you’re the Lakers, especially when you traded away all of your young assets for Davis. It’s also worth noting that Davis made similar comments regarding playing with the Bulls over the offseason, though it also seems unlikely that he would publicly state that he has no plans of ever playing for the Bulls, even if it’s true.
Davis has played less than 10 games in a Lakers uniform, so it’s kind of strange to think about him moving on, but the reality is that he could be an unrestricted free agent next summer, assuming that he turns down the $28 million player option for the 2020-21 season attached to his current contract. At that point, he would be free to sign anywhere, including Chicago.
Davis double-downed on his love for his hometown on Monday, as he also explained to media members how Chicago is the “mecca” of basketball.
“It is,” Davis said. “We’ve got the best basketball players ever. You look at the history with all the guys we’ve got that made the league and even the guys that didn’t make the league. They say New York, but it’s not even close.”
Clearly, Davis is fond of his hometown. Does that mean he’s going to sign there next summer? Maybe, but probably not. Either way, Davis’ looming decision is going to generate no shortage of speculation as the season goes on, so we might as well get started.