The Lakers haven’t exactly played their best basketball since adding Reggie Bullock to their rotation at the trade deadline. The team is just 2-9 in games that Bullock has appeared in so far, and the veteran sharpshooter hasn’t been at his best during that stretch either — his .333 3PT% is well below his career rate (.394). Nonetheless, Bullock has conveyed a desire to remain in Los Angeles going forward, as Ron Gutterman of LakersNation.com relays.
“I would love to be back here with the Lakers,” said Bullock, who will be an unrestricted free agent this offseason. “I was a fan of this organization pretty much my whole life, and the connection me and ‘Bron (LeBron James) are building, it’s continuing to build trust. We’ll see how it plays out in the summer.”
Although Bullock has only played 11 games as a Laker, the club will have his Bird rights as a result of his previous contract with the Pistons. To retain those Bird rights, the Lakers would have to keep Bullock’s $4.75MM cap hold on their books this summer until they work out a new deal.
If the Lakers need to renounce Bullock to create cap room for a marquee free agent, that wouldn’t necessary rule out a return, but the club would be limited to re-signing him using any leftover cap space, the room exception, or the minimum salary exception.
Here’s more on the Lakers:
- Head coach Luke Walton is considered likely to lose his job at season’s end, despite once being viewed as the sort of coach who could stick in L.A. for the next 10 or 15 years. Matt John of Basketball Insiders argues that Walton doesn’t deserve the blame for the Lakers’ disappointing season, while Bill Oram of The Athletic presents a case for how Walton has been undermined and betrayed by team management.
- In order to move forward, the Lakers first need to take a long look in the mirror, ESPN’s Kevin Arnovitz writes in a deep dive on the franchise. Arnovitz criticizes owner Jeanie Buss for her recent claim that the media is the biggest challenge facing the Lakers, suggesting that the statement makes the team appear incapable of self-reflection. The Lakers are “so infatuated with the glory of their brand that they forget about the essence of their product,” Arnovitz contends.
- After a surprisingly unsuccessful first season in Los Angeles, it’s impossible for LeBron James to predict what will come next, says Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press. However, his friends and former teammates expect him to bounce back from a disappointing 2018/19 season. “Just having that break, being able to reassess and come back really, really highly motivated, I think it’s going to be big for him,” Kevin Love said. “If you get ‘Bron highly motivated, anything can happen.” Dwyane Wade, meanwhile, offered the following assessment: “This is definitely going to make him hungrier for what he’s trying to accomplish next year.”
- Lakers rookie Moritz Wagner, who racked up a career-high 22 points on Saturday, is hoping to take advantage of an increased role down the stretch, as Kyle Goon of The Orange County Register details.