Why the Bulls need to call Anthony Davis right now
By adding Garrett Temple and re-signing Denzel Valentine, the Bulls roster is essentially complete.
They're at the limit of 15 players, with just the second two-way contract yet to be settled.
But there's one other free agent the Bulls should be calling. And keep calling until he answers the phone.
For roughly the past week, Anthony Davis has been an unrestricted free agent. He's going to play for the Lakers this season, but he's waiting to sign a new deal and pondering how the contract should be structured.
As a free agent, Davis can listen to pitches from every team. Arturas Karnisovas should be calling. Marc Eversley should be calling. Billy Donovan should invite him to a socially-distanced lunch.
With basically no hope of adding Davis this season, what can they even say to him? Well, introduce themselves, talk about how the Bulls are under new management, casually mention the Bulls can open roughly $40 million of cap space next season, for starters.
For some common ground, they could tell the story of how Bulls first-round draft pick Patrick Williams grew from a 6-foot guard into 6-8 forward during high school. It's similar to what Davis experienced at Perspectives Charter School, although Davis grew a little taller.
Davis might be locked into the Lakers this season, but LeBron James turns 36 in December. The bubble's championship lineup won't last forever.
Maybe it's Davis' dream to return to his hometown of Chicago and play for the Bulls. Maybe it's his career goal to never play for the Bulls.
The point is, the Bulls should make acquiring Davis their No. 1 priority for the next year or two. If it doesn't work, they can move on to Plan B, C or D, but it's about time the Bulls try using their location as an advantage, instead of acting like a small-market franchise with no hope of landing a significant free agent. Championship teams aren't built through the draft anymore.
There's no better time than now for the Bulls to express how much they admire Davis. He's a free agent considering his options for the future. It's within the realm of possibilities that Davis could work his contract so that he's a free agent again in a year or two. Even if they can't get past Davis' agent, Rich Paul, Karnisovas and crew can still send pleasantries in Davis' direction.
There's not much point in rehashing the past, but previous management left the Bulls in a tough spot. While other teams in the East are adding pieces, the Bulls are waiting for their bad contracts to expire.
There's one more season left on the expensive deals for Otto Porter and Cristiano Felicio, which will subtract $36 million from the payroll. Tomas Satoransky and Thad Young have partial guarantees for 2021-22, so it will cost the Bulls $11 million to free up roughly $13 million in cap space there. Whether Lauri Markkanen signs an extension or heads into 2021 as a restricted free agent doesn't really matter.
No matter how this season turns out, the Bulls can't expect a lineup of Zach LaVine, Coby White, Wendell Carter Jr., Markkanen and Williams to grow into a championship contender. The NBA just doesn't work that way. It will take trades, veteran additions and a couple of superstars to get it done.
If Davis is humming, "Sweet Home Chicago" in his head, the Bulls need to find a way to make it come true.
For now, it can't hurt to make sure Davis is aware the new occupants at the Advocate Center are thinking about him.