Reggie Bullock

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.

Pistons Notes: Griffin, Rookies, Johnson, Bullock

There’s a good chance that Blake Griffin can return to elite status after a healthy summer and a few months of working to develop chemistry with Andre Drummond and Reggie Jackson, writes Rod Beard of The Detroit News. Griffin played 25 games for the Pistons after being acquired in a trade with the Clippers, and although his scoring and rebounding numbers declined from where they were in L.A., Griffin averaged a career-best 6.2 assists per game after coming to Detroit.

Beard also states that he doesn’t expect Griffin to be among the first players moved if owner Tom Gores decides to break up the team. Griffin signed a max extension with the Clippers last summer and is owed $141.6MM over the next four years, although the final season is a player option. That type of contract would be difficult to trade, Beard notes, and tough to get anything of value for.

There’s more today out of Detroit:

  • Dwane Casey’s history of giving minutes to young players in Toronto could be good news for Khyri Thomas and Bruce Brown, but they’ll still face a challenge in cracking a talented rotation, Beard states in the same piece. The Pistons sent two second-round picks to the Sixers for the 38th pick in this year’s draft, which they used to grab Thomas, a shooting guard who specializes in defense. They took Brown, a wing who can also play the point, four picks later. Both were adequate but not overly impressive during Summer League, and Beard believes there will have to be injuries for either to get regular playing time as rookies.
  • The Pistons brought in Glenn Robinson III as insurance in case Stanley Johnson receives a huge offer sheet as a restricted free agent next summer, Beard adds. Detroit is already near the projected cap for 2019/20 and may not be willing to go into the luxury tax to keep Johnson.
  • Reggie Bullock‘s 3-point shooting prowess should keep him in the starting lineup, even though the Pistons’ coaches are strong believers in Luke Kennard, writes Keith Langlois of NBA.com. Bullock, who shot a sizzling 44.5% from 3-point range last year, will be a free agent next summer.

Central Notes: Parker, G. Robinson, Bullock, McMillan

Signing Jabari Parker away from the Bucks was a low-risk, high-reward move that could significantly raise the Bulls‘ talent level, writes Spencer Davies of Basketball Insiders in that site’s season preview for Chicago. Parker got a two-year, $40MM deal that Milwaukee elected not to match. However, only the first season is guaranteed, so the Bulls can treat it like an expiring contract if things don’t work out.

Parker provided some reasons for optimism last season after returning from ACL surgery on his left knee. He averaged 12.6 PPG and 4.9 RPG in 31 games while shooting 48% from the field and 38% from 3-point range. There are still questions about his defense, which may improve after a summer off to rest the knee, and he will have to adjust to the small forward spot in Chicago.

In the same preview, the Basketball Insiders crew tabs rookie Wendell Carter as the Bulls’ best defensive player and states that Fred Hoiberg is finally getting to coach the style of team he envisioned when he took the job.

There’s more today from the Central Division:

  • Glenn Robinson III’s 3-point shooting may help him win a starting job with the Pistons, Keith Langlois of NBA.com notes in a mailbag column. Robinson and Stanley Johnson are the only natural small forwards on Detroit’s roster, and while Johnson is the better defender, Robinson has the size and athleticism to help on that end of the court. New coach Dwane Casey plans to emphasize 3-pointers, which gives Robinson a chance for significant playing time, whether as a starter or reserve.
  • The Pistons could have a tough time keeping Reggie Bullock next summer without making some roster moves to free up cap space, Langlois adds in the same piece. Bullock and  Johnson are both headed toward free agency, but Johnson will be restricted if Detroit makes a qualifying offer. Bullock will be seeking a raise from this year’s $2.5MM salary, and the team already has nearly $105MM committed for 2019/20.
  • Nate McMillan became just the second coach in Pacers history to receive a contract extension when his new deal was announced this week, observes Mark Montieth of NBA.com. McMillan far exceeded expectations last year in leading Indiana to a 48-win season after the team traded away Paul George.

Central Notes: Pistons Lineup, Griffin, Smith, Paxson

Determining the two starters who will join Blake Griffin, Andre Drummond and Reggie Jackson in the lineup is one of the things to watch for during the Pistons’ training camp, according to Keith Langlois of the team’s website. Stanley Johnson, Reggie Bullock and Luke Kennard are the three major candidates for those two slots. Jon Leuer, Henry Ellenson and Zaza Pachulia will vie for the role of first big man off the bench, though Leuer’s status for training camp is uncertain due to recent knee surgery, Langlois adds.

We have more from around the Central Division:

  • Having Griffin as the focal point of their offense for a full season has created optimism around the Pistons franchise, Ansar Khan of MLive writes in his latest player profile. The Pistons had trouble incorporating Griffin into the offense following the blockbuster trade with the Clippers in late January. But he has developed his all-around game and become a better 3-point shooter and passer, Khan continues. New coach Dwane Casey plans on putting the ball in his hands more often, Khan adds.
  • Cavaliers guard J.R. Smith was issued a desk ticket for misdemeanor criminal mischief after he allegedly tossed a fan’s cell phone into a construction site on July 26, according to an ESPN story. Smith spoke to police in New York City on Friday about the allegation and he will appear in Manhattan Criminal Court later this year.
  • Jim Paxson’s title with the Bulls has been changed from director of basketball operations to director of pro personnel, the team announced in a press release. The Bulls also promoted Brian Hagen to associate GM, Steve Weinman to assistant GM and and Miles Abbett to manager of minor league scouting and analytics.

Central Rumors: Leuer, Wood, Love, Bullock

Pistons big man Jon Leuer is expected to be ready by the season opener and perhaps by the start of training camp, Vince Ellis of Detroit Free Press tweets. Leuer underwent surgery to repair a meniscus issue that arose during a workout earlier this month. Leuer appeared in just eight games last season due to a left ankle injury that required season-ending surgery in January. The team is hopeful Leuer, who is entering the third year of a four-year, $42MM contract, can return his role as a rotation player at center and power forward.

We have more from the Central Division:

  • Christian Wood is confident he can earn a spot on the Bucks’ opening day roster, as he expressed to HoopsHype’s Bryan Kalbrosky. The 6’11’ Wood reached an agreement with Milwaukee on a training camp deal after posting big numbers on their summer league squad. “Once I get the time and people see me, I know that I can be an X-factor in the NBA. I can run the floor and beat other bigs and I’m faster than most people my size,” he told Kalbrosky.
  • Kevin Love had a pretty good idea that LeBron James would either pick the Lakers or stay with the Cavs, he revealed in an ESPN interview that was relayed by Alysha Tsuji of USA Today. “I knew it was probably between Cleveland and Los Angeles. I think he’s always looking for a different challenge. He’s always wondering what’s next, and it feels like sometimes he’s playing chess and everybody else is playing checkers,” Love said.
  • The Pistons have depth at the wing spots but Reggie Bullock will retain his starting spot under new coach Dwane Casey, MLive’s Ansar Khan writes. Bullock emerged as one of the league’s top 3-point shooters last season after being inserted into the lineup. He’s one of the league’s biggest bargains at $2.5MM, as Khan notes, and should get a much bigger contract as a free agent next summer if he has a similar season.

Pistons Guarantee Reggie Bullock’s 2018/19 Salary

The Pistons have opted to keep Reggie Bullock on their roster through his July 15 salary guarantee deadline, ensuring that his contract for 2018/19 will become guaranteed, writes Rod Beard of The Detroit News.

While Beard classifies the move as Detroit picking up a “team option” on Bullock, the Pistons didn’t actually have to exercise an option to keep the veteran swingman on their roster. The club simply had to keep Bullock under contract – rather than waiving him by Sunday – to guarantee his $2.5MM salary for next season.

Bullock, 27, enjoyed a breakout year for the Pistons in 2017/18. After averaging just 3.0 PPG in 147 games over his first four NBA seasons, the former first-round pick posted 11.3 PPG on .489/.445/.796 shooting in 62 games (52 starts) last year. His performance made it an easy decision for the club to bring him back at a bargain price of $2.5MM.

Bullock will now be on track for unrestricted free agency in the summer of 2019. As for the Pistons, their team salary will remain at about $122.4MM, per Basketball Insiders, just shy of the $123.7MM tax line. The club still has room to fill out the last spot on its roster by signing second-rounder Khyri Thomas, but no deal is in place yet for the former Creighton standout.

Pistons Notes: Thomas, Scouting, Gores, Brown

The Pistons were looking to add depth at the wing spots and got two players who will compete for minutes next season, Keith Langlois of Pistons.com writes. Detroit didn’t have a first-round pick but traded away two future second-rounders to the Sixers to nab Creighton’s Khyri Thomas at No. 38, then chose Bruce Brown of Miami (Fla.) four picks later with their own selection.

“You never know how the draft’s going to go,” senior advisor Ed Stefanski said. “It didn’t look like we were going to be able to move like we did. People were asking for some big asks, but as the night went on it got much better and we were able to make the move. … We need some young guys, especially, to play that position.”

Stanley Johnson, Reggie Bullock and Luke Kennard are projected to eat up most of the minutes at those spots but Thomas and Brown could get into the mix if an injury strikes.

In other news regarding the Pistons:

  • Stefanski notified the team’s scouting department that their contracts would not be renewed at the end of the month, Jake Fischer of Sports Illustrated tweets. The team’s front office is undergoing a complete makeover after head coach and president of basketball operations Stan Van Gundy and GM Jeff Bower were dismissed. The team is still seeking one or more young executives to take front office roles. Spurs executive Malik Rose has been offered a front office job. New head coach Dwane Casey is in the process of building his staff. The team reached an agreement with Bucks assistant Sean Sweeney to join its staff.
  • Top players Blake Griffin, Andre Drummond and Reggie Jackson were asked for their input when owner Tom Gores was conducting the coaching search, Langlois writes in a separate piece“I did consult with them, (though) they weren’t making the decision,” Gores said. “I texted Reggie, Andre, Blake. ‘What kind of coach do you want? Let’s check the boxes.’ I did engage with them. I know them pretty well. Meeting Dwane, he really did check all those boxes.”
  • Bruce Brown underwent season-ending foot surgery in his final season with the Hurricanes but he has no restrictions this offseason, as he told Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press and other media members. “I’m good to go,” Brown said. “I’m fully cleared. All my medicals look fine at the combine so I’m ready to go 100 percent.”

Pistons Notes: Beilein, Stefanski, Casey, Bullock

Interviewing for the Pistons’ head coaching vacancy was enough NBA experience for Michigan’s John Beilein, relays James Hawkins of The Detroit News. Beilein eventually pulled his name from consideration and agreed to a tentative extension with the Wolverines. He came away convinced that the college atmosphere is best for him.

“It was location, location, location,” Beilein explained in an interview on WBBL. “[Wife] Kathleen and I, we love it. … We wouldn’t really have to move. It was appealing to me and the interest was mutual to an extent, but they had some other great options and I had a great option. It didn’t work out, but I wanted to think it through. I don’t anticipate or plan on ever doing that again and I think people understand that. It’s not like I’ve been doing this every year.”

There’s more news out of Detroit:

  • Hiring Dwane Casey as head coach was the first step in what is shaping up to be an active summer, writes Rod Beard of The Detroit News. Ed Stefanski, the new senior advisor to owner Tom Gores, is hoping to find a general manager in the next week or two. Stefanski could assume the lead role in the front office, either as president or GM, and hire someone younger he can mentor to eventually take over, Beard adds.
  • The team is expected to pick up its $2.5MM option on Reggie Bullock by the July 15 deadline, Beard notes in the same story. That will leave decisions on whether to fully guarantee a $1.8MM contract for Eric Moreland and a $1.6MM deal for Dwight Buycks.
  • The press conference to introduce Casey as head coach won’t take place until next week, Beard adds. The delay is believed to be a matter of coordinating schedules with Gores and some of the players. In the meantime, Casey is in Los Angeles to meet with several Pistons who conduct their offseason workouts there, such as Blake Griffin, Andre Drummond, Reggie Jackson, Stanley Johnson and Luke Kennard.
  • Forward James Ennis, who is headed for free agency, has decided to change agents, according to HoopsHype (Twitter link). He will be represented by Scott Nichols of Rize Management.