Atlantic Notes: Bullock, Brown, Nesmith, VanVleet, Nets

Losing Reggie Bullock in free agency last summer is yet another what-if for the Knicks, according to Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News. Bullock received a three-year deal worth a little over $30MM from Dallas.

New York’s front office chose to utilize the team’s extensive cap space by signing veterans Kemba Walker and Evan Fournier. The Knicks also re-signed Derrick Rose, Alec Burks and Nerlens Noel to pricey deals.

Bullock was close with Julius Randle, and Bondy wonders if Bullock’s presence might have helped uplift Randle during his struggles this season. Coach Tom Thibodeau says Bullock’s skill set is valuable to any team in the league.

Reggie’s gonna help any team,” Thibodeau said. “That’s who he is. He’s got a skill in shooting; he spaces the floor for your best players. He’s a great defender, and he’s got length. He’s a long wing. Wherever he’s been, he’s always helped the team. He’s a team-first guy, so he’s a good player. He’s been a good player for a long time in this league.”

It’s been reported multiple times that Thibodeau urged the front office to retain Bullock, but he denies being upset that the veteran wing wasn’t re-signed.

I love Reggie. He’s a good player. When a guy earns the right to free agency, he has to do what he thinks is best for him and his family,” Thibodeau said, per Bondy. “I got great respect for him, so I wasn’t disappointed. I know that’s part of the business. For a guy who conducts himself the way he does, you’re always happy when they get good situations.

So, I think he was a big part of what happened last year and a byproduct of when something good happens like that, everyone’s value goes up, so that’s the case. And then you have to decide what’s best for your organization. He’s gotta decide what’s best for him and his family. And hopefully, you can find something, but it doesn’t always work out that way. It’s part of the league.”

Here’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Celtics coach Ime Udoka said Jaylen Brown has no more limitations relating to his sprained right ankle, but Aaron Nesmith will be out “a while” longer as he deals with his own ankle sprain, per Jared Weiss of The Athletic (Twitter link). The second-year swingman is listed as day-to-day.
  • Fred VanVleet‘s shooting is much needed for the Raptors, but his value extends beyond that, Eric Koreen of the Athletic writes. “(VanVleet) makes it easier,” Scottie Barnes said. “It opens up a lot more space. He’s a general out there on the floor. So it helps us all when he’s out there on the floor with driving lanes being more open. When he’s there, his presence is just really big for our team.”
  • Mike Vaccaro of The New York Post wonders if the Big Two is all the Nets really need after the team’s 132-121 victory over Charlotte on Tuesday. “That,” coach Steve Nash said, “was about as well as we’ve played all year, both sides of the ball.” Kyrie Irving dominated the game, finishing with 50 points on just 19 shots. Brooklyn is currently 34-34, the No. 8 seed in the East.
View Comments (14)