Reggie Bullock positioned himself as a core piece in the New York Knicks surprising renaissance last season. The veteran wing provide a reliable scoring punch along with toughness and durability, earning himself the large role under coach Tom Thibodeau. Now, as the 6-foot-6 veteran enters free agency, he’s drawing some flirtatious glances from some of the league’s “outside contenders”.
As Marc Berman reported for the NY Post, “According to an NBA source, two Atlantic Division squads, the Celtics and 76ers, have interest in Knicks swingman Reggie Bullock, who started all season at either shooting guard or small forward. The source said the Lakers, whom Bullock played for in 2018-19 alongside LeBron James, also have Bullock on their list.”
For the Celtics, Bullock’s skillset would alleviate some of their ailments of the previous season, most notably bench scoring. Throughout the 65 games the 30 year old wing participated in last season, he shot 41% from three on six attempts per game. Factor in Bullock’s 52% from two-point range and 90% showing from the free-throw line, and his fit on Boston’s offense starved bench quickly becomes apparent.
“Bullock was one of three players this season to shoot at least 44 percent from the field, 40 percent from 3-point land and 90 percent from the free-throw line — based on minimums of 100 3-point and 50 free-throw attempts. Of the two others who did it, Stephen Curry and Kyrie Irving, Bullock had the best plus-minus.”
Berman also report that Bullock will likely command the full mid-level exception of $9.23 million should he not stay with the Knicks who hold his early-bird rights. Either way, Bullock will likely be rewarded for his fine season in New York by doubling his yearly salary which currently sits at $4.2 million per year.
CelticsBlog’s Keith Smith recently detailed the Celtics projected cap space, which shows the team is currently far enough under the tax apron to potentially have access to the Non-Taxpayer Mid-Level Exception.
Brad Stevens has stuck to a single mantra since taking the reins as President Of Basketball Operations (POBO), and that mantra is flexibility. Should the Celtics qualify for the Non-Taxpayer MLE, and use it in its entirety, they will become hard capped for the coming season which would remove the flexibility Stevens has consistently spoke about.
Berman also noted that “One source believes Bullock, who turned 30 in March, will seek a three-year deal.” That contract length should suit the Celtics if the third year is either a player or team option, as that provides the team with a tradeable asset should a star become available down the line.
The Knicks currently hold the inside track for Bullock, with the notion being that he prefers to stay in New York, and that the Knicks can offer him a deal beyond the constraints of the MLE. However, with rumors circulating that the Los Angeles Lakers are targeting Bullock’s close friend Chris Paul, the sunny streets of LA may be a tempting proposition for the veteran.
“Interestingly, a report surfaced Wednesday the Lakers will try to lure Chris Paul back to Los Angeles. Paul and Bullock are both from North Carolina and are close.”
From Boston’s perspective, a consistent scoring threat such as Bullock, who’s a career 39% three point shooter fills a glaring need off the bench. However, the restrictive nature of spending the full MLE on Bullock, coupled with the numerous other holes that need to be addressed on the roster, make acquiring the Baltimore native a troublesome prospect that would require large amounts of ingenuity from Stevens and his front office counterparts.
NBA Free Agency is still roughly 2 weeks away, Bullock won’t be the last name linked with the Celtics, and that’s before we even start looking at trade candidates. Buckle your seatbelts, the next few months are going to be a rollercoaster ride.