Reggie Bullock

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.

Reggie Bullock’s Salary To Be Fully Guaranteed

The Mavericks are keeping Reggie Bullock on their roster past the June 28 deadline for his 2023/24 salary to become fully guaranteed, Marc Stein tweets.

Bullock will earn $10.49MM next season before becoming a free agent in 2024. Dallas could have saved nearly half that amount by releasing him before midnight on Wednesday.

The 32-year-old small forward came to the Mavericks as a free agent in 2021. He averaged 7.2 points, 3.6 rebounds and 1.2 assists in 78 games last season while shooting 38% from three-point range.

“Handshake Deal” For Kyrie Irving In Dallas?

Representatives of rival teams at last week’s NBA Draft Combine expect Kyrie Irving to re-sign with the Mavericks this summer, writes Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report. Dallas missed the playoffs after acquiring Irving from Brooklyn in a February trade and he often appeared to be an awkward fit alongside Luka Doncic, but sources tell Pincus that the Mavs didn’t trade for Irving as a short-term experiment.

“I hear they had a handshake deal before the trade,” one of Pincus’ sources said. “And Kyrie wouldn’t have said yes to anything less than the max.”

Irving will be eligible for a new five-year contract in Dallas that could be worth $272MM, Pincus adds. Although he was an All-Star this season for the 10th time in his career, off-court incidents in Brooklyn — and Boston and Cleveland before that — may limit the number of teams interested in signing him.

“I’m not sure what the market is for Kyrie, but no one with cap room is giving it to Kyrie,” another source told Pincus. “He comes with too much drama.”

Pincus talked to an agent who expects Irving to receive a four-year deal with a player option on the final season. It would be worth about $201MM in guaranteed money and would line up with Doncic, who can opt out of his current contract in 2026.

In an appearance Monday on ESPN’s “Get Up,” Brian Windhorst suggested that the Lakers shouldn’t be dismissed as a possible Irving suitor (video link). L.A. was reportedly interested in Irving when he considered opting out of his contract last summer and again when he submitted a trade request to the Nets in February.

Windhorst admits the Lakers would have to give up most of the assets they just acquired in order to sign Irving outright, but he says the landscape could be more favorable if Dallas would agree to a sign-and-trade. Regardless, Windhorst added that it helps Irving’s negotiating position if he can convince the Mavericks that L.A. is interested.

Pincus also talked with several sources who expect Dallas to be a potential landing spot for Suns center Deandre Ayton, who shares an agent with Doncic.

“The Suns need depth,” a source told Pincus. “I can see them getting Tim Hardaway Jr., JaVale (McGee) back, Josh Green and No. 10 (draft pick). Phoenix would probably flip the pick to another team for depth, or maybe it’d be a big multi-team deal.”

Pincus lists Maxi Kleber, Davis Bertans, Reggie Bullock and Jaden Hardy as other players who might be moved in a hypothetical Ayton trade, but he notes that Kleber is among Doncic’s best friends on the team, which gives Dallas incentive to keep him.

Cavs Notes: Mitchell, Next Season, LeVert, Garland, Wing Upgrades

The Cavaliers traded for Donovan Mitchell to make them a true contender. Mitchell felt personally responsible for the team’s 4-1 series loss to the Knicks, according to Kelsey Russo of The Athletic.

“I don’t feel like I was the player I needed to be for this group,” Mitchell said. “That’s what’s gonna keep me up at night. I’ve done it all year. You know what I mean? So I just didn’t deliver like I expected myself to, my teammates and everybody expects me to. And like I said, I take that upon myself, man, like I gotta be better.”

Mitchell averaged 23.2 points — five below his season average — and shot 43.3 percent and 28.9 on 3-point attempts in the series.

We have more on the Cavs:

  • This year’s playoff flop puts immense pressure on the team to get deeper into the postseason next year, Jason Lloyd of The Athletic opines. Even though Mitchell is signed through the 2025/26 season, he can opt out in the summer of 2025. If the Cavs can’t get a long-term commitment from Mitchell after next season, they may need to trade him, Lloyd writes. They also don’t have many assets to upgrade the roster.
  • Caris LeVert is headed to free agency but he “absolutely” wants to re-sign, Chris Fedor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer tweets. LeVert averaged 18 points in the last four games of the series.
  • Darius Garland learned some lessons during the series, Fedor writes at Garland’s eyes were opened by the different tempo and intensity in the playoffs. “The pace is just so fast, it’s just coming to you really quick,” Garland said. “It’s a lot to process. Go back and watch this film, see what we did wrong. Trying to learn from it as much as I can. It hurts, but we know what it feels like. We know how playoff basketball is. We know the physicality of it. We know the mental aspect of it. It’s going to make us work hard and we’re going to remember this feeling.”
  • How can the Cavs upgrade at the wing? Yossi Gozlan of HoopsHype explores that topic in his offseason primer. They could target Josh RichardsonJalen McDaniels or Kelly Oubre with their mid-level exception. They could also try to trade for a forward with the MLE since the new CBA allows it to be used as a trade exception. Potential targets in that case could include Royce O’NealeReggie Bullock or Alec Burks.

Southwest Notes: Zion, Irving, Mavericks, Porter

After getting more discouraging news about Zion Williamson this week, the Pelicans are preparing to face the start of the postseason without him, writes William Guillory of The Athletic. Executive vice president of basketball operations David Griffin announced that Williamson remains out indefinitely due to a hamstring injury, making him unavailable for the play-in tournament or possibly even a first-round playoff series if New Orleans is able to qualify.

Griffin told reporters on Friday that Williamson has participated in 3-on-3 drills with coaches, but he hasn’t been cleared for 5-on-5 scrimmages. Griffin also revealed that Williamson hasn’t met some “objective metrics” in the weight room or on the court, and he’s still hesitant sometimes when pushing off with the injured leg.

“We want Z back, for sure. But we can’t put a lot of time and focus into ‘What ifs.’ Right now, this is reality. That’s what we have to look at,” coach Willie Green said. “Over the last 10 games, we’ve been playing extremely well. We have to continue to do that. When that time comes when Z can step on the floor and go, then it’s, ‘Let’s go.’”

There’s more from the Southwest Division:

  • When the Mavericks traded for Kyrie Irving in February, he requested that reporters refrain from asking him about free agency until the season was over, notes Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News. Those questions are sure to come on Sunday when Dallas ends a disappointing campaign that fell short of the play-in tournament. Townsend adds that although the Mavs have a 9-17 record since trading for Irving, he hasn’t created any distractions in Dallas after a string of off-the-court incidents with Brooklyn. The biggest question facing the team in the offseason is how much of a commitment to make to Irving, who is eligible for a five-year, $272MM contract with the Mavericks or a four-year, $201.7MM deal with another team.
  • After finding themselves under NBA investigation for resting players Friday night with a play-in spot still within reach, the Mavericks will use a depleted roster again on Sunday, Townsend tweets. Irving, Luka Doncic, Reggie Bullock, Tim Hardaway Jr.Josh Green and Maxi Kleber will all sit out the game against the Spurs.
  • Rockets guard Kevin Porter Jr. will miss Sunday’s game with soreness in his right knee, tweets Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. That will leave him at 59 games, one short of the 60 needed to make his games-played bonus for next season considered to be likely. Feigen adds that it won’t affect Porter’s salary (he could still earn the bonus by playing in 60 games next season), but it will open some cap room for Houston to use this offseason. The bonus accounted for $2.38MM of Porter’s cap hit for the 2023/24 season, explains Bobby Marks of ESPN (Twitter link).

Knicks Increase Efforts To Trade Cam Reddish

The Knicks have “redoubled” their efforts to find a new home for forward Cam Reddish, according to Marc Stein, who says in his latest Substack report that Reddish is the Knick most likely to be moved ahead of the February 9 trade deadline.

Stein confirms previous reporting from Michael Scotto of HoopsHype, stating that the Lakers and Bucks are among the teams with interest in Reddish. The Mavericks are another potential suitor, says Stein.

Scotto also previously reported that the Knicks are seeking a pair of second-round picks in a Reddish trade. Stein doesn’t dispute that the club is looking for “second-round draft compensation” in exchange for Reddish, though he doesn’t specify the number of picks New York is looking for.

Sources tell Stein that the Knicks have some interest in reacquiring Mavericks wing Reggie Bullock, who spent two seasons in New York from 2019-21 and was a favorite of head coach Tom Thibodeau. Although Reddish is earning just $5.95MM compared to Bullock’s $10.01MM salary, a one-for-one swap of the two players would be permitted under the NBA’s trade rules since the Knicks are well below the tax line.

Bullock is held in “high regard” by Dallas, per Stein, though he’s having a down year offensively, averaging just 5.8 points per game on .364/.338/.654 shooting in 43 games (29.3 MPG). The 31-year-old is considered a solid, versatile defender and played heavy minutes (39.3 MPG) during the Mavs’ playoff run last season.

Reddish, meanwhile, was a highly regarded college prospect and entered the NBA in 2019 as the 10th overall pick out of Duke, but has yet to deliver on his potential during four seasons in Atlanta and New York. The 23-year-old fell entirely out of Thibodeau’s rotation last month, having not appeared in a game for the Knicks since December 3.

Mavericks Notes: Doncic, Wood, Bullock, Walker

Luka Doncic was brilliant in Friday’s win at Houston, but a narrow victory on his 50-point night continues to raise concerns about the rest of the Mavericks‘ roster, writes Callie Caplan of The Dallas Morning News. Doncic also had 10 rebounds, eight assists and two steals, but Dallas needed his late 30-foot three-pointer to hold off a rally by the Rockets, who have the worst record in the West.

“Luka is Luka,” coach Jason Kidd said after the game. “He’s the best player in the world, and he showed that tonight.”

There are questions about whether that’s enough for Dallas to put together another long playoff run. Caplan notes that after holding a 61-50 lead at halftime, the Mavs were outscored 34-20 in the third quarter with Doncic getting 15 of those points. No other Dallas player topped 11 points on the night.

“Besides Luka, we didn’t have a really high percentage from the floor,” Kidd admitted. “But Luka sensed that and controlled the game.”

There’s more on the Mavericks:

  • Christian Wood is now eligible for a four-year contract extension as Friday marked six months since he was acquired from Houston in a trade, Caplan points out in the same story. Wood can receive a new deal worth up to $77MM over four years any time before the start of free agency, but Caplan says it’s not clear what either side plans to do. Wood could opt for unrestricted free agency in July in hopes of landing more money, either from the Mavericks or another team, while Dallas could decide to use Wood’s expiring salary as a trade chip. Caplan suggests the Mavs may want to see how Wood performs in the playoffs before making a long-term commitment.
  • Reggie Bullock left Friday’s game in the third quarter with a strained neck, the Mavericks announced (via Twitter). Caplan observed that Bullock was holding his head in his hands after the injury and appeared “woozy” as he walked to the locker room. With Josh Green, Maxi Kleber and Dorian Finney-Smith already sidelined, Caplan said Dallas may be without its four best defensive players for the Christmas Day game against the Lakers.
  • Kemba Walker will miss his second straight game Sunday due to injury recovery for his left knee (Twitter link). Caplan tweets that Kidd was trying to pace the veteran guard so he would be available to play on Christmas.

Southwest Notes: Bullock, Dinwiddie, Clarke, Davis

Mavericks swingman Reggie Bullock has been named this year’s recipient of the 2021/22 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Social Justice Champion award, Bullock announced in a recent Instagram story (hat tip to Callie Caplan of the Dallas Morning News).

“Super honored to have won this award,” Bullock said in his Instagram story, which also included two photos of an engraved trophy. “My platform isn’t taken for granted and I’ll keep inspiring and doing what’s right for my ppl ‼️”

The league has not yet officially revealed the identity of this year’s victor, chose by a committee featuring several social justice leaders. The NBA is supposed to make the announcement at some point during Sunday’s TNT broadcast of the Western Conference Finals.

Aside from Bullock, other finalists for the honor this season include All-Star Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns, All-Star Raptors point guard Fred VanVleet, Grizzlies All-Defensive Team power forward Jaren Jackson Jr., and Bucks All-Defensive Team point guard Jrue Holiday.

The league is set to make a $100K donation to a charitable social justice organization of Bullock’s choosing. The Dallas Morning News reports that Bullock has selected his hometown Kinston Teens to receive the donation. The other finalists will all be given a $25K league donation for their chosen social justice groups.

There’s more out of the Southwest Division:

  • Mavericks reserve guard Spencer Dinwiddie has enjoyed a particularly lucrative playoff run for Dallas thus far, Marc Stein notes at Substack. The structure of the contract Dinwiddie signed during the 2021 offseason with the Wizards is laden with bonuses that incentivize postseason success. Dinwiddie earned $100K when the Mavericks made the second round of the playoffs and $571,427 when the club advanced to the Western Conference Finals. Should Dallas move on to the Finals, Dinwiddie would earn an additional $400K bonus.
  • Grizzlies big man Brandon Clarke is hoping to improve his three-point game in time for the 2022/23 season, writes Damichael Cole of the Memphis Commercial Appeal. Clarke, 25, is eligible for a rookie contract extension this summer. “It’s pretty high up on the list,” Clarke said of improving his long-range shooting. “I kind of proved this year I’m not somebody who… needs to be shooting the ball to be playing well, but that’s definitely something very high up on the list that I want to work on more.” Cole opines that the addition of a three-point shot to Clarke’s repertoire could impact how the Memphis front office views his long-term fit. Clarke is a career 29.4% three-point shooter on 0.9 attempts a night, though he did convert 35.9% of his 1.1 looks per game during his rookie season in 2019/20.
  • The Spurs, owners of the ninth pick in the 2022 draft, are one of several clubs who took a look at top prospect Johnny Davis, a 6’5″ wing out of Wisconsin, during the 2022 NBA Draft Combine in Chicago. Davis’s NCAA tenure has him well-versed with rebuilding teams, per Tom Orsbron of the San Antonio Express-News. “We lost six or seven seniors from my freshman year, so it was a very limited roster on the team,” Davis said of the Badgers’ 2021/22 squad. “Guys were looking left and right, (thinking), ‘Who is going to be the next ‘guy’ on the team?’ So I figured, ‘Why not me?’ It was a great opportunity to go out and play freely.” Davis averaged just 7.0 PPG during his freshman season, but took a leap as a sophomore. The 20-year-old put up 19.7 PPG, 8.2 RPG, 2.1 APG and 1.2 APG for the 25-8 Badgers this past season, while being named a consensus first-team All-American and the Big Ten Player of the Year. The Spurs also possess the No. 20, 25, and 38 picks in the 2022 draft.

Mavericks Notes: Roster, Kidd, Bullock, Doncic

Letting a 19-point lead slip away Friday night was a reminder that the Mavericks still have work to do on their roster, writes Tim Cato of The Athletic. Dallas controlled much of Game 2 after building an early 26-10 lead, but couldn’t stop the Warriors when it mattered and now faces a 2-0 deficit in the Western Conference Finals.

Coach Jason Kidd only has six players that he can trust for significant minutes, Cato notes. Frank Ntilikina played just four minutes in Game 2 and didn’t score. Kidd tried Josh Green in the second half, but he missed the only shot he took in five minutes. Spencer Dinwiddie had four points and four turnovers as the Mavs’ bench was outscored by Golden State’s 36-13.

Having a healthy Tim Hardaway Jr. might ease the problem, but he’s still recovering after having foot surgery in February. Cato adds that Dallas needs another two-way wing who can match up with the Warriors’ collection of talent at that position, but the team doesn’t have a good option currently on the roster.

There’s more on the Mavericks:

  • Kidd believes his team helped Golden State by taking too many three-point shots, per Tim McMahon of ESPN. Friday’s game turned around in the third quarter as the Mavs scored just 13 points and shot 2-of-13 from long distance. “If you make [threes], that’s great, but you just have to understand, if you miss four in a row, you can’t take the fifth,” Kidd said. “You’ve got to make it. That just puts too much stress on yourself and on your team because, if you’re not getting stops on the other end, it turns into a blowout.”
  • The Warriors won by controlling the area near the basket on both ends of the court, according to Eddie Sefko of Dallas was outscored in the paint, 62-30, and was out-rebounded by a 43-30 margin. “Small, small-ball,” Kidd said. “When you say the overall playoffs, we did start off without Luka (Doncic), who is our best rebounder. But just being small. Sometimes, we’ll give up the rebound to take advantage of the offensive side. But when we do win, we rebound the ball, and we have to do a better job of that.”
  • Hardaway is the only player listed on the Mavs’ injury report for Game 3, tweets Callie Caplan of The Dallas Morning News, who adds that the stitches Reggie Bullock received in his right eyebrow and the lingering pain in Doncic’s right shoulder don’t appear to be serious concerns.

Mavericks Notes: Bounce Back, Kidd, Adjustments, Kleber

The Mavericks bounced back in Friday night’s Game 3 with a 103-94 victory over the Suns, writes Tim MacMahon of ESPN. Jalen Brunson, who struggled in the first two games of the series, scoring a combined 22 points on just 9-of-28 shooting, led the way with a game-high 28 points on 10-of-21 shooting.

I kind of found myself playing with a little bit more hop in my step, getting to spots quicker and making decisions faster,” Brunson said. “Decisions came from me just being aggressive. My teammates just kept giving me confidence to go make plays, and I just kept doing that. … I found a way to bounce back tonight, but I just can’t be satisfied with this.”

Star Luka Doncic finished with 26 points, 13 rebounds and nine assists, but perhaps more importantly, showed renewed vigor on the defensive end after being repeatedly targeted in Game 2.

The first or second possession, he was diving on the floor,” Dorian Finney-Smith said of Doncic. “When you see the best player do that, it kind of sets the mood.”

I knew I had to do better,” said Doncic, per MacMahon. “I knew I could do better. I think I made a big jump on defense this year. The second half (of Game 2) was horrible by me, and I knew I had to get back to my team and play better defense.”

Here’s more on the Mavs:

  • Head coach Jason Kidd lamented the fact that Doncic didn’t receive much help in the first two games, but he was happy with team’s well-rounded performance in Game 3, MacMahon relays in the same article. “Everybody joined the party,” Kidd said. “They helped out on both ends. Luka was great defensively. He participated, too. It puts us in a different position when that happens.”
  • Finney-Smith and Reggie Bullock were key in slowing down the Suns’ star backcourt of Chris Paul and Devin Booker, per Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News. “Reggie and Doe-Doe (Finney-Smith), man, those guys have been incredible all year on the defensive end,” Doncic said. “They’re our leaders on defense. We go as they go on defense.” Bullock and Finney-Smith combined for six steals and 8-of-21 on three-pointers, limiting CP3 and Booker to more turnovers (12) than field goals converted (11).
  • Kidd said the NBA had the wrong priorities regarding the team’s $25K fine for ‘bench decorum’ violations, Townsend notes in another article. “The league is worried about the wrong thing. You have millionaires cheering on other millionaires. Doesn’t happen in this society. And the enthusiasm of the game, for a teammate to cheer on another teammate is special. And I think sometimes we’re focused on the wrong thing. And so when you look at people who make a lot of money cheering on their teammates or their employees, that’s what sport is all about. And so for us to get fined, that’s cool. It’s going to another good cause, charity. But again, we’re looking at the wrong thing,” Kidd said before Game 3.
  • Dallas’ heliocentric approach, with Doncic frequently dominating offensive possessions, has led to him being tired in the second halves of games in the postseason. Prior to Game 3, Tim Cato of The Athletic detailed how Doncic and the Mavs could adjust in order for him to contribute on both ends of the floor.
  • Maxi Kleber is improving after falling on his neck in Monday’s Game 1, tweets Callie Caplan of The Dallas Morning News. “It’s better. I still feel it a little bit when I move my head and all that, but it’s good. I was lucky,” Kleber said.