Bulls

Anthony Davis, LeBron James eye 2020 All-Star appearances in Chicago

Anthony Davis, LeBron James eye 2020 All-Star appearances in Chicago

Anthony Davis has played his entire career in the Western Conference, so he has only had one visit to his hometown each season.

That could change this season with Chicago playing host to the 2020 NBA All-Star game.

“It would mean a lot,” Davis said Monday following Lakers practice at Quest Multisport on the city’s west side. “Obviously, I love playing back home. To come back and hopefully get a chance to play All-Star and have All-Star weekend where I can see my friends and family more and do stuff around the city and kind of take control of the city for that weekend, it would be huge for me. I’m excited for that opportunity.”

So is Davis’ new teammate, LeBron James.

“Chicago this year in February, it’s going to be warm?” James cracked. “No, I’m looking forward to that, if I’m a part of it. The West is a lot of athletes, a lot of great players. Hopefully I can get the nod to represent the West again, represent the Lakers. I’d love to come back to The Chi, that’s for sure.”

Given that James is a 15-time All-Star and Davis has played in six straight, it’s a safe bet both players will be playing at the United Center not only on Tuesday with the Lakers but in February with the Western Conference.

This is Davis’ first season with the Lakers as James’ teammate after the Pelicans granted his trade request. That move took Davis from chasing a playoff spot to chasing a championship.

“It’s a blessing, man, just to be able to play the game this long,” Davis said. “Had a great time in New Orleans and got a new episode here. Definitely excited to be able to compete for a championship this year and just keep moving forward.”

This summer, Davis raised eyebrows and created headlines by calling Chicago the mecca of basketball. He doubled down on that stance when asked about it Monday.

“We got the best basketball players ever,” he said. “You look at the history and all the guys we 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.”

And Davis watched highlights of his fellow hometown product Derrick Rose getting serenaded with chants of “MVP!” from the United Center faithful when Rose’s Pistons visited last week.

“They love him here,” Davis said. “Chicago basketball, they love their guys. It was a good thing to see, especially with all he has been through.

“His name will forever be etched in stone here as a legend. He made it out where most people wouldn’t. He’s a Hall of Famer here forever, no matter if he makes it or not. I’m happy for him. I’m happy he’s back being the old Derrick Rose.” 

Attention Dish and Sling customers! You have lost your Bulls games on NBC Sports Chicago. To switch providers, visit mysportschicago.com.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Bulls easily on your device.

Bulls Talk Podcast: Who makes it to the All-Star Game?

zach_lavine.jpg
USA TODAY

Bulls Talk Podcast: Who makes it to the All-Star Game?

The NBA All-Star Game voting is almost up and the biggest question is if Zach Lavine make the cut. Jason Goff is joined by Will Perdue, and Kendall Gill as they give their official East and West All-Stars for this season.

(2:05) - If Zach Lavine makes the ASG, who doesn't go?

(3:54) - Eastern Conference selections

(8:12) - Debate on if Trae Young should go to the ASG

(13:48) - Does the League have influence on who makes the ASG?

(15:38) - Should Lavine use Dunk Contest as leverage for the ASG?

(18:23) - How Chicago will react to having All-Star Weekend

(19:15) - Chance that Derrick Rose will make the ASG

(20:51) - Western Conference selections

(22:26) - Fan voting needs to be gone

Listen to the episode here or in the embedded player below.

Bulls Talk Podcast

Subscribe:

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Bulls easily on your device.

Thad Young pleads Zach LaVine's All-Star case, offers advice to Lauri Markkanen

usatsi_13742764_2.jpg
USA Today

Thad Young pleads Zach LaVine's All-Star case, offers advice to Lauri Markkanen

Before any assorted media had a chance to ask Thad Young a question following Tuesday morning shootaround, he had something to get off his chest.

"Before we start, I just want to say Zach LaVine should be an All-Star. It should be said and done already," Young began, unprompted. "That guy’s been putting on a show for the past couple months. Been doing his thing. He’s been incredible. So Zach LaVine for All-Star. I'm saying it here and now, lets make sure we get this done. Everybody go vote, go do what you gotta do."

Young isn't the first Bull to plead LaVine's case, and he certainly won't be the last. The question, though, is who he is pleading to. Fan voting for All-Star starters ended Jan. 20 at 11:59 p.m. ET, the night before Young's statement.

Perhaps it's a call to coaches. Though the last fan voting returns had LaVine as the sixth-ranked Eastern Conference backcourt player, there remains the possibility of him sneaking in as one of the seven reserves, which coaches vote on.

That pool will be crowded, but LaVine has made a tremendous case for himself with his recent play. This month, LaVine is averaging 30 points (t-6th in the NBA), 5.1 rebounds and 4 assists per game on 49 percent shooting from the field (35.9 percent from 3). He's played 36.8 minutes per night in 11 January games.

"He’s done more than enough, he’s more than capable. He’s shown it time and time again, and he’s been great for us all season long," Young said. "He don’t have to pay me anything [to say this], that was my rook in Minnesota. He’s a great teammate, he’s one of the best ever, he wants to get better each and every day."

But no Young media availability would be complete without imparting a bit of veteran wisdom. When asked what Lauri Markkanen — who's season-long struggles are well-documented — can learn from LaVine's ascension, Young was candid.

"I think the confidence level of Zach and what he’s done can be instilled in Lauri a little bit. Lauri starts to miss shots, sometimes he gets down on himself. Zach misses a shot, Zach’s like, ‘I’m going to shoot the next one. I’m going to be more aggressive. I’m going to try to get to the basket,’" Young said. "And then being able to mix up his game a little bit. Not just, ‘Hey, I’m just going to shoot the 3’ or ‘I’m just going to drive and take it to the basket’ [without] having an in-between game or being able to mix in some post ups here and there."

On Markkanen's ability to do that within the Bulls' system: "Our offense is structured and predicated on 3s and getting to the basket. But coaches are still encouraging him to mix everything up. The coaches are encouraging everybody to mix it up — try to give opposing teams something different, something that they haven’t seen."

Starters and captains for the 2020 All-Star game will be announced Jan. 23, with reserve announcements coming Jan. 30. If LaVine makes it, Bulls fans can look forward to the All-Star draft on Feb. 6.

Attention Dish and Sling customers! You have lost your Bulls games on NBC Sports Chicago. To switch providers, visit mysportschicago.com.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Bulls easily on your device.