Davis has no hard feelingsEverything worked out well for A.D.
By BILL HARRIS -- Toronto Sun
CHICAGO -- Looking back on his association with the Raptors, Antonio Davis knows it was a religious experience.
He had the best statistical years of his career in Toronto. Representing the Raptors, he was the starting centre for the Eastern Conference in the 2001 NBA all-star game. And when everyone was in agreement that it was time for him to leave, the Raptors traded him to the Chicago Bulls, which is exactly where he wanted to go.
"Even if I were a guy who didn't believe in God, I would have to believe in him then," said Davis, whose Bulls play host to the Raptors this afternoon.
"What are the chances of getting traded to where my family is? It just doesn't happen. I'm thinking the whole time, 'Oh no, (the Raptors) are mad because I don't love it here, so they're going to trade me to Portland, and it's going to be the worst thing ever.' And then I'm thinking I'm going to have to make a fool of myself and say, 'No, I'm not going, I'm staying here in Toronto.' "
Davis need not have worried. He was reunited with his wife and two kids in the Windy City on Dec. 1 when the Raptors traded him with Jerome Williams and Chris Jefferies to the Bulls for Jalen Rose, Donyell Marshall and Lonny Baxter.
"How could I be mad about anything?" Davis asked.
Davis hinted he might consider retirement if he were traded again, which is not an impossibility. It's hard to believe he actually would retire, since he's earning $12 million US a season. But the fact the thought has crossed his mind speaks to his commitment to put family before basketball, even though he knows some people questioned his priorities because he was happy about going from a mediocre team like the Raptors to a weak team like the Bulls.
"My wife and I knew there was going to be a transition after (last) season, when we decided she and the kids were going to stay in Chicago," Davis said. "There comes a time, as your kids grow, when you have to make decisions as a parent and things get screwed up, you know? And at that particular time in Toronto, things were a little screwed up."
When Davis speaks of things being "a little screwed up," he was referring in part to his oft-voiced opinion that the Raptors were operating without a long-term plan. Davis, 35, got sick of there being a new collection of big men playing alongside him virtually every season.
"In Toronto they said we couldn't score," said Davis, referring specifically to the beginning of this season. "I'm just a believer in getting the best shot every time down the floor. Sometimes you have to make that extra pass and sometimes you have to sacrifice to make the next guy better, and instead I felt like I was getting penalized for that."
Davis' basketball life is no better now. But if you're going to play for a team that is miles away from winning a title anyway, you might as well have your family around to take your mind off your job.
While both the Raptors and the Bulls are different since the deal, neither club is noticeably better or worse than it was.
"Both teams addressed their initial problems, though they may have other problems now," Davis said. "But you make those trades as a GM thinking, 'There's something we need to do here, something that stands out, a problem we have to address.' You hope you do the right thing. And I hope neither GM feels like he didn't make the right decision."
Davis said if some of the players involved in today's game want to use it as a grudge match, that's fine with him. He would welcome anything that helps the Bulls end their six-game losing streak.
But personally, Davis has no demons to exorcize today.
"It is going to be a little weird," Davis said. "But I still wish that (Raptors) team and that organization the best, man. I'm not going into this game angry."