Southwest Notes: Bullock, Wembanyama, Grizzlies, Kleber

The sign-and-trade agreement that is sending Reggie Bullock and a 2030 first-round pick swap (via Dallas) to the Spurs could help them both now and in the future, according to Jeff McDonald of The San Antonio Express-News (subscriber link).

As McDonald writes, Bullock will immediately become the oldest player (32) on the roster, with an opportunity to serve as a veteran mentor while competing for rotation minutes. His $10.5MM expiring contract will also push the Spurs above the salary cap floor, giving them access to the annual tax payment from the league’s biggest spenders.

However, the pick swap could turn out to be the real prize, McDonald notes. No. 1 overall pick Victor Wembanyama theoretically will be in his prime in seven years, which might give San Antonio an edge in terms of having a better record than Dallas in 2030 (and thus the swap conveying).

Here’s more from the Southwest:

  • Speaking of Wembanyama, the Spurs will be cautious with their franchise player, but that doesn’t mean they have durability concerns about the 7’4″ big man, writes Mark Medina of Sportsnaut. It’s normal for top draft picks to have their minutes limited during Summer League action, as Wembanyama will when he makes his debut on Friday in Las Vegas, Medina notes. People around the league believe the Spurs are focused on Wembanyama’s transition to the NBA being as seamless as possible, which is why they want to limit his workload early on.
  • The Grizzlies‘ playing style won’t change with Ja Morant suspended for the first 25 games of 2023/24, head coach Taylor Jenkins said on NBA TV. “Our system doesn’t change,” Jenkins said, per Damichael Cole of The Memphis Commercial Appeal. “What we emphasize offensively — the pace, the space, the unselfishness — defensively, the discipline nature that we got to have every single night, that’s what we’re going to lean on.” The Grizzlies will also be looking for internal development from Desmond Bane and Jaren Jackson Jr. to fill Morant’s void, Jenkins added.
  • Maxi Kleber‘s ’22/23 campaign was ravaged by injury, having suffered a torn hamstring in December that required surgery. The Mavericks big man is healthy again now and feels much more like himself, he tells Eddie Sefko of “I’m ready, yeah. That’s what I’ve been preparing for,” Kleber said when asked if he’s ready for an injury-free season. “Last year was obviously frustrating because I was out for so long. And even coming back, I had so many issues. I couldn’t move properly. It’s something you don’t want to have to deal with during the season. So it was good to have this summer actually to recover and do some work.” Kleber also told Sefko he’ll play for Germany in the World Cup next month, his first national team appearance in several years due to various injuries.
View Comments (1)