Reggie Bullock

Central Notes: Pistons, Bullock, Bucks, Pacers

Although the Pistons traded Reggie Bullock to the Lakers at last month’s trade deadline, Vince Ellis of The Detroit Free Press says he gets the impression that Bullock would be open to returning to Detroit as a free agent this offseason (Twitter link). The Pistons would likely reciprocate that interest, though it would depend on Bullock’s price tag, Ellis adds (via Twitter).

With the Pistons projected to be over the cap next season, they’ll be limited to a few modest exceptions, including the mid-level, as they attempt to upgrade their roster. Signing a three-point shooter like Bullock – or perhaps current Piston Wayne Ellington – will be a priority, but Detroit figures to commit part of its MLE to a point guard, Ellis notes. Reggie Jackson remains under contract for another season, but Ish Smith, a key part of the club’s rotation, will be a free agent.

Here’s more from around the Central:

  • After officially signing Tim Frazier today, the Bucks are now only about $250K below the tax line, tweets cap expert Albert Nahmad. As Nahmad explains, Tony Snell can earn up to $400K in bonus money if Milwaukee wins the Finals, but the team should be on track to stay out of the tax if it falls short of a title — or if Christian Wood is claimed on waivers tomorrow.
  • In a pair of recent pieces by Sam Amick and Scott Agness of The Athletic, Indiana executives revisited the Paul George trade that turned into a rare win-win for both the Pacers and Thunder. “I think it worked out good for Paul, and I think it’s working out pretty well for us,” consultant Donnie Walsh said of the deal, per Amick.
  • In Agness’ story on that trade with the Thunder, Pacers president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard raves about Domantas Sabonis, who gets somewhat overlooked as the only non-All-Star (so far) involved in the swap. “When we looked at all the deals, once we heard ‘Sabonis’ is when I said, ‘I’m in. I want to do this,'” Pritchard said. “And I asked everybody around the room, ‘Is everybody on board?’ As soon as that happened, we got pretty excited about that.”
  • Dwane Casey‘s ability to respond to adversity, which has been on display throughout his first season with the Pistons, is one reason why owner Tom Gores hired him as the club’s head coach last spring, writes Keith Langlois of Pistons.com. Despite a 9-22 stretch earlier in the season, Detroit currently holds the East’s No. 6 seed.

Lakers Notes: Ball, Trades, Walton

Before finding himself sidelined for the remainder of the season, Lonzo Ball showcased his ability on defense, something that’s winning over some of his doubters.

“He’s an impact player on that side of the ball,” a Western Conference executive tells Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report. “I’m surprised he’s that good defensively. Coming out of UCLA, that was a question.”

Pincus notes that Ball and LeBron James shared the floor in 34 games this season, winning 20 of those contests. Over a full season, that pace would put the Lakers in the middle of the playoff picture instead of the gutter where Los Angeles currently resides.

The defense is there but the offense is still a work in progress for Ball. Pincus argues the point guard must add a reliable three-pointer to his arsenal in order to take the next step in the evolution in his game.

Here’s more from Los Angeles:

  • Ball seems destined to be included in an Anthony Davis-to the-Lakers trade, but if that deal never occurs, the point guard would fit well alongside a potential free agent signing such as Kyrie Irving, Pincus argues (in the same piece). Ball has the size to guard opposing shooting guards, which would take a burden off of someone like Irving.
  • Poor shooting is the Lakers‘ biggest issue, Bill Oram of The Athletic contends. The front office attempted to correct this deficiency at the trade deadline by acquiring Reggie Bullock and Mike Muscala in a pair of deals. Bullock has made just 39.2% of his shots from behind the arc since coming to the Lakers. Muscala has made just 26.3% while barely seeing the floor.
  • Luke Walton will likely take the fall for the Lakers‘ struggles this season but Oram (in the same piece) argues that the coach is putting players in position to be successful. The team is making just 35.5% of “wide open” three-pointers, which ranks last in the league.“ We’ve had so many 3s where it could be dagger [and force] timeouts,” Rondo said. “We haven’t capitalized on those yet.”

Lakers Notes: Bullock, Walton, LeBron, Wagner

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.

Lakers Acquire Reggie Bullock From Pistons

FEBRUARY 6: The Lakers and Pistons have each issued a press release confirming that the Bullock trade is now official.

FEBRUARY 5: The Lakers have agreed in principle to acquire Reggie Bullock from the Pistons in exchange for Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk and a second-round pick, Frank Isola and Shams Charania of The Athletic report (Twitter links).

Detroit will receive Los Angeles’ 2021 second-round pick, tweets James Edwards III of The Athletic. The deal is expected to be finalized on Wednesday.

We relayed over the weekend that Los Angeles was one of several teams to call Detroit about the swingman. Bullock, 27, has a $2.5MM expiring contract, so he does not impact the Lakers’ cap situation for free agency this summer.

By trading Bullock, the Pistons will create a $2.5MM trade exception, per ESPN’s Bobby Marks. The Lakers will inherit Bullock’s Bird Rights (with a cap hold of $4.75MM) entering free agency his summer.

In his sixth NBA season, Bullock is averaging a career-best 12.0 PPG through 43 games and gives the Lakers some much-needed outside shooting help. He is shooting the ball at a 38.4% clip from three-point range this season, which is slightly below his career average of 39.6%.

As for the Lakers, they are parting with one of their second-round picks (47th overall) from last year’s draft. The Ukraine native has appeared in 39 games this season, averaging a mere 3.2 PPG. Per Marks, the Pistons will have until July 5 to guarantee Mykhailiuk’s $1.4MM salary for the 2019/20 season. His third season is a team option worth $1.6MM.

Assuming the trade is completed, the Pistons will move $1.5MM below the luxury tax for the season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Lakers Called Pistons About Reggie Bullock

The Lakers are among several teams that have contacted the Pistons about swingman Reggie Bullock, tweets Tania Ganguli of The Los Angeles Times. Detroit is listening to offers for Bullock, but hasn’t been tempted by anything it has heard so far, according to Ganguli.

The 27-year-old has a $2.5MM expiring contract, so he wouldn’t impact the Lakers’ cap situation for free agency this summer. Ganguli doesn’t specify what L.A. was offering in return.

Bullock is averaging a career-best 11.8 points per night through 41 games and would give the Lakers some much-needed outside shooting help. He is hitting at a 37.1% clip from 3-point range this season, which is slightly below his career average of 39.2%.

Pistons Notes: Trade Deadline, Brown, Bullock

If the asset-strapped Pistons are going to make a splash at the NBA trade deadline they’ll have to get creative. As The Athletic’s James L. Edwards III writes, Detroit would presumably need to unload some sizable contracts if they brought back a significant package and the players currently making big money on their roster – outside of Blake Griffin – aren’t particularly desirable.

Edwards writes that Pistons senior adviser Ed Stefanski isn’t eager to give up a future first-round pick simply to alleviate the cap burden of its weighty contracts (Reggie Jackson‘s $17MM, Jon Leuer‘s $10MM, for example) but those picks could be in play if a solid star comes along. Edwards includes Bradley Beal as a hypothetical possibility that might warrant such a return.

The Pistons have some players that could be considered modest assets ahead of the deadline, including sophomore Luke Kennard and fourth-year forward Stanley Johnson. Ish Smith and Reggie Bullock, similarly, could draw interest from contending teams looking to shore up their rotations with veteran depth.

There’s more from Detroit:

  • While there are plenty of scenarios that could hypothetically jump-start a Pistons rebuild, Keith Langlois of the team’s official website writes in a weekly mailbag that he’d wager the team stands pat at the deadline. The club may look to shore up its second-unit but lack draft assets to offer in trades.
  • Scrappy first-year guard Bruce Brown has struggled to showcase his elite defensive skills lately, something head coach Dwane Casey‘s believes could be attributable to a famous foe in the basketball world. “I don’t know if it’s a rookie wall or whatever, but just the concentration, the attention to detail,” Casey told Keith Langlois of Pistons.com. “Those are mental things that young fellows usually make when they’re mentally fatigued a little bit.
  • In the same blog post, Langlois writes that Reggie Bullock practiced on Wednesday. The 27-year-old sharpshooter and potential trade chip missed Tuesday’s game with a sprained ankle that has plagued him and and off throughout the season. His status is uncertain for Thursday.

Central Notes: Burks, Hood, Bullock, Cavs, LaVine

Guards Alec Burks and Rodney Hood are the players most likely to be moved by the Cavaliers before the trade deadline, according to Joe Vardon of The Athletic. Burks was acquired from Utah last month because of his movable $11.5MM expiring contract. He can provide scoring off the bench, defense and ball-handling for a playoff contender. Hood is a skilled player on an expiring $3.4MM contract, though he can’t be traded without his approval since he’s playing on a qualifying offer. Kevin Love, Tristan Thompson and Jordan Clarkson are other Cleveland players who could be moved at the right price. GM Koby Altman is seeking draft picks, multi-year contracts of expensive players who could be traded in the future, and young players with potential, Vardon adds.

We have more from around the Central Division:

  • Pistons shooting guard Reggie Bullock and backup point guard Ish Smith are garnering trade interest, Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press reports. Detroit would like to re-sign both players, who are on expiring contracts, Ellis continues. Bullock is making $2.5MM this season and Smith is pulling in $6MM. An offer of a first-round pick could entice Detroit to move Bullock, Ellis adds.
  • The steady diet of losses is weighing on the Cavaliers, Chris Fedor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer writes. The injury-riddled Cavs went 1-5 on their just concluded road trip. The Cavaliers don’t want to think that the rest of the season will be a slog to the finish line. “I don’t accept that,” Clarkson said. “I’m trying to compete in games. It’s tough. But we don’t even have a team. You’re playing Channing (Frye) right now and he wasn’t even getting no minutes this year. All these guys dealing with injuries and stuff like that. Sometimes coming into the game a little overmatched. But I’m not set on this is how we are.”
  • Bulls guard Zach LaVine took a veiled shot at coach Jim Boylen after the team’s loss to Miami over the weekend, Michael Walton of NBC Sports Chicago reports. LaVine expressed his frustration that the team is playing worse despite getting some key pieces back in the lineup in recent weeks. “Something is obviously wrong,” he said. “We weren’t losing by double digits earlier in the season.” Many of the team’s issues can be attributed to Boylen’s unimaginative offensive scheme, Walton adds.

Central Notes, Bullock, I. Smith, Bucks, Leaf

Reggie Bullock and Ish Smith have been solid this season for the Pistons and would have some value on the trade market, given their modest salaries and expiring contracts. However, the club would like to re-sign both players during the 2019 offseason, if possible, tweets Vince Ellis of The Detroit Free Press. That would throw a wrench into the idea of trading either player during the season.

Ellis notes that Bullock, in particular, is generating “strong” interest on the trade market. The sixth-year wing is having another excellent shooting season for the Pistons, making 39.8% of his three-point attempts. That’s nearly right in line with his 40.2% career rate, and would appeal to a ton of contenders — especially given his $2.5MM salary.

Here’s more from around the Central:

  • Frank Isola takes an in-depth look at Bucks co-owner Marc Lasry in an interesting piece for The Athletic. Within the story, Lasry confirms that Milwaukee made an effort to acquire Kyle Korver from Cleveland before the Cavs traded him to Utah earlier this season. A December report had suggested that the Bucks came close to trading for both Korver and George Hill before working out a separate deal for Hill.
  • T.J. Leaf, who has had a chance to play regular minutes with Myles Turner sidelined, may stick in the Pacers‘ rotation even after Turner returns, head coach Nate McMillan said this week. Mark Montieth of Pacers.com has the story, along with the quotes from McMillan.
  • Kris Dunn has been something of an enigma in his first season and a half with the Bulls, according to Sam Smith of Bulls.com, who explores whether the former fifth overall pick can still be Chicago’s point guard of the future.

Free Agent Stock Watch 2019: Central Division

Every week, Hoops Rumors takes a closer look at players who will be free agents or could become free agents next offseason. We examine if their stock is rising or falling due to performance and other factors. This week, we turn our attention to the Central Division:

Jabari Parker, Bulls, 24, SF (Down) – Signed to a two-year, $40MM deal in 2018
Parker is out of the Chicago’s rotation and on the trading block, a massive and swift fall from grace after signing a big contract to play for his hometown team. If the Bulls can find a trading partner, Parker could be considered damaged goods and not just because of the knee injuries that set back his career. He has gained a reputation of being disinterested on defense and a ball-hog on offense. Wherever he is at season’s end, it’s hard to imagine that team exercising its $20MM option. Parker will be back on the market and the offers will be significantly less.

Alec Burks, Cavaliers, 27, SF (Down) – Signed to a four-year, $42MM deal in 2015
Burks is getting steady minutes under coach Larry Drew since his inclusion in the Kyle Korver deal with Utah but he isn’t doing anything noteworthy with them. He’s averaging 28.0 MPG and while his rebounding and assist numbers have climbed, he’s shot just 33.3% from the field. Burks has not averaged better than 33% from long range over the last three seasons. He needs to pick up his production from the perimeter to draw interest in the summer. He’s averaged $10.5MM in salary over the last four years — that will drop dramatically with his next contract.

Reggie Bullock, Pistons, 27, SG (Up) – Signed to a two-year, $5MM deal in 2017
Bullock was one of the NBA’s best 3-point shooters — and bargains — last season when he made 44.5% of his attempts. He’s proving that was no fluke. His long-range average is up to 39.8% after his career-high 33-point performance at Minnesota on Wednesday when he drained seven 3-pointers. Bullock fills an essential role for a team that needs long-range compliments to the power duo of Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond. Detroit would like to keep him but it will have competition and Bullock will receive a major pay raise wherever he winds up.

Bojan Bogdanovic, Pacers, 29, SF (Up) — Signed to a two-year, $21MM deal in 2017
Bogdanovic is a consistent offensive force on one of the league’s most underappreciated teams. He’s scored in double figures 23 straight games and he’s averaging career highs in points (16.4), field-goal percentage (51.4) and 3-point percentage (47.5). Indiana had to decide before free agency in July whether to guarantee his $10.5MM salary and it wisely chose to keep him. Bogdanovic will surely get multi-year offers next summer, though it would be no surprise if he re-signs with the Pacers, where he’s a comfy fit.

Eric Bledsoe, Bucks, 29, PG (Up) – Signed to a five-year, $70MM deal in 2014
Bledsoe has matured since being dealt from Phoenix last season and adjusted his game around a superstar talent. He’s shooting a career-high 50% from the field, an excellent number for a guard, and his turnover rate is the lowest of his career. Bledsoe is the third-best player on a team that owns the Eastern Conference’s second-best record. With several teams around the league looking for a point guard upgrade, the Bucks will have to shell out some major bucks to retain their floor leader.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Central Notes: LaVine, Bullock, Portis, Griffin

The Bulls‘ rebuild process is temporarily on hold after the recent injury to star guard Zach LaVine, as the team will once again have to wait to see how all its core players fit together, Mark Strotman of NBC Sports writes. LaVine suffered a sprained left ankle in Mexico City last week, with the 24-year-old expected to miss at least 2-to-4 more weeks of action.

LaVine’s injury comes around the same time another Bulls player, Bobby Portis, sustained a sprained ankle of his own. The team announced a similar 2-to-4 week absence for Portis on Thursday.

“Well first of all it’s heartbreaking for me, and I know John and Gar and Jerry and Michael, it’s heartbreaking,” Bulls coach Jim Boylen said of the team’s recent injuries. “(The) injury thing is out of your control, it’s very difficult. But we’ll just get them together when they’re available and we’ll evaluate it from there. I don’t know what else to do really. Other teams go through it. It’s part of the league. We just have to do the best we can when it’s possible to play them together.”

The Bulls have dealt with injuries to key players such as Lauri Markkanen, Kris Dunn and LaVine this season, struggling to gain a rhythm offensively and work as a unit defensively. Team management decided to fire coach Fred Hoiberg earlier this month after a 5-19 start to the season, naming Boylen as his replacement.

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • Pistons forward Reggie Bullock has used his contract season as motivation, with the 27-year-old set to enter free agency in July. “It’s definitely a confidence builder,” Bullock said, according to Rod Beard of The Detroit News. “It’s the last year of my current contract, but I’m just going out hungry. I gotta eat. I’ve got stuff I’ve got to do and my teammates are blessing me with advice and telling me to shoot the ball and give me a lot of confidence to continue to play, perform on the court and show it.” Bullock is in his fourth season with the Pistons, averaging a career-best 12.1 points per game.
  • Mark Strotman examines where the Bulls can go after Portis’ ankle injury in a different story for NBC Sports, labeling the team’s various options for playing time during his absence. Portis’ injury could lead to extended minutes for Jabari Parker, time at the power forward position for Wendell Carter Jr., or a larger role for Chandler Hutchison.
  • The Pistons are working on building around Blake Griffin while staying within reasonable cap flexibility, Beard writes in his mailbag for the Detroit News. The team traded for Griffin last season, placing him alongside Andre Drummond to create one of the league’s most formidable frontcourts. Detroit is 15-14 and holds the No. 6 seed, owning a 4-2 record against other Central Division teams.