Reggie Bullock

Knicks Notes: Fizdale, Randle, Smith, Bullock

The vultures are circling in New York. After a blowout 120-102 defeat to the lowly Bulls, the 2-9 Knicks are still reeling from press conference comments made by president Steve Mills and GM Scott Perry on Sunday. Head coach David Fizdale‘s days in New York appear to be numbered.

On ESPN’s SportsCenter today, Adrian Wojnarowski speculated to Stephen A. Smith that a Fizdale firing felt like a fait accompli. Wojnarowski elaborated, noting that Fizdale could be the first member of the New York brain trust to be shown the door by owner James Dolan amidst this disastrous — though hardly surprising — start to the Knicks’ season.

Marc Berman of the New York Post postulates that Fizdale could be gone within the Knicks’ next 10 games if they don’t make a drastic improvement in the win column. ESPN Insider scribe Kevin Pelton suggests that the Knicks front office leaders, who were so quick to blame Fizdale for stumbling out of the gate, need to recognize the limitations of the team’s disjointed roster.

There’s more from New York:

  • About that roster — one of the Knicks’ best backcourt prospects, Dennis Smith Jr., has missed seven of the team’s past eight games due to the death of his stepmother. He returned to action yesterday, scoring zero points on 0-for-3 shooting from the floor. Once Smith settles in, the Post’s Greg Joyce thinks that his presence could positively affect the team’s dire point guard situation. Frank Ntilikina remained the starter yesterday in Chicago, but Smith could be a helpful scorer and facilitator in a bench capacity. Elfrid Payton, the starting point guard when the season began, remains out of commission with a hamstring injury.
  • An NBA personnel man who spoke to Marc Berman believes the Knicks are making a tactical mistake in treating Julius Randle like a No. 1 option. Berman observes that Randle, a good scorer and the team’s highest-paid player, lacks the chops to be a good team’s lead ball-handler. Fizdale himself addressed the big man’s decision-making, as Ian Begley of SNY reports. “For him, we’re just trying to build that habit of having more balance and when you decide to go and when you decide to work with getting someone else involved,” Fizdale said.
  • The Knicks’ depleted backcourt could eventually get some more help in the form of shooting guard Reggie Bullock, whom the team signed to a two-year, $21MM contract over the summer. According to Chris Iseman of NorthJersey.com (Twitter link), Bullock has been progressing in his rehabilitation enough to partake in non-contact drills in team practice. He will be re-evaluated in early December. Bullock, a career 39.4% three-point shooter, underwent surgery for a cervical disc herniation in July.

New York Notes: Jordan, Durant, Nets, Bullock

After spending the latter part of last season with the Knicks, veteran center DeAndre Jordan was expected to be a potentially key part of New York’s plan to pursue Kevin Durant in free agency. Instead, Jordan ended up joining the crosstown rival Nets, along with Durant and Kyrie Irving.

Jordan, 31, is joining his fourth team in two seasons. For him, the decision to go with the Nets over the Knicks had a lot to do with the team’s oft-mentioned culture and commitment to player development.

“Not to knock the culture the Knicks are creating, but we like what Kenny [Atkinson]’s doing and Sean [Marks] has been awesome and the organization, from top to bottom, has been great,” Jordan said to The Gothamist (via New York Post). “So you want to be a part of something like that, especially when you have a chance to play with other great players and build something.”

Check out more New York notes below:

  • As for Durant, Jordan commented on his new Nets teammate in the same story. While it’s unlikely that Durant, coming off a torn Achilles, plays next season, Jordan is excited at what Brooklyn can accomplish when he does suit up. “We’ve got a lot of talent on this team,” Jordan said. “You know obviously Kevin had a tough injury, he’s going to be out for a while, but he’s progressing great, he’s recovering fast, we’ll be even better when we get him back and healthy.”
  • With the Nets‘ free agency success has come an increased interest in the team, Kavitha Davidson of The Athletic writes. After luring Durant and Irving to Brooklyn, Nets’ CEO Brett Yormark said ticket demands, social media activity and much more has skyrocketed. “This is an outbound business, not an inbound business, so when a thousand calls are starting to come in, you get pretty excited. You realize momentum is shifting,” Yormark said.
  • Knicks free agency signee Reggie Bullock may not return to the court until sometime in the new year, Marc Berman of the New York Post writes. A serious back injury forced the Knicks to rework their original deal with the 3-and-D specialist and his cervical disk herniation surgery could sideline him for upwards of six months, according to one leading orthopedic surgeon who spoke to Berman.

Reggie Bullock Undergoes Cervical Disc Surgery

The health issue that scuttled Reggie Bullock‘s initial two-year, $21MM deal with the Knicks has been revealed, with the club announcing today (via Twitter) that the veteran swingman underwent surgery in New York for a cervical disc herniation.

The Knicks didn’t provide a specific timetable for Bullock’s recovery, indicating that they’ll issue an update on his progress around the start of training camp. A report on Tuesday suggested that he would likely miss at least the first month of the regular season.

After Bullock’s original agreement with New York fell apart, the two sides struck a new two-year deal that slotted into the team’s room exception rather than using cap space.  According to Jeff Siegel of Early Bird Rights (via Twitter), it’s worth $8.2MM over two seasons, though the second year is only partially guaranteed for $1MM.

It’s not clear if Bullock’s cervical disc issue arose during the offseason or if it was something he played through while he was a member of the Lakers last season.

Knicks Notes: Morris, Bullock, Vonleh

After officially announcing their deals with Marcus Morris and Reggie Bullock today, the Knicks appear to be just about done with free agency. Damyean Dotson‘s salary for 2019/20 became fully guaranteed because he remained on the roster through Monday, so New York is now carrying 15 players on guaranteed deals. The team has also exhausted its cap room and appears to have used a portion of the room exception to sign Bullock.

Here are a few Knicks-related notes on Morris, Bullock, and more:

  • Morris’ agent Rich Paul wasn’t directly involved in his client breaking his verbal agreement with the Spurs, and preferred that Morris stick to that agreement, a source tells Marc Berman of The New York Post. According to Berman, Morris and the Knicks worked together to strike a deal. As for Morris and Paul, they’re reportedly parting ways after the forward’s tumultuous free agency.
  • A source tells Berman that Bullock is out “indefinitely” and isn’t expected to be ready for the start of the regular season. Ian Begley of SNY.tv reports that Bullock will likely miss at least a month of the season. The details on the veteran guard’s health issue remain a mystery, but that issue helped scuttle the initial two-year deal between the two sides — that $21MM agreement would have been worth more than double the value of their new contract.
  • The Knicks’ goal is to win – not tank – in 2019/20, according to Berman, who speculates that Morris and Julius Randle may end up being the team’s starting forward tandem, with 2018 lottery pick Kevin Knox moving to the bench.
  • After leaving the Knicks for the Timberwolves in free agency, Noah Vonleh told Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic that he had a “great” time in New York last season. “It was a great opportunity,” Vonleh said. “They gave me some playing time, let me be the 4-man, just grow as a player and change the narrative that was on me that was in the league and gave myself another a chance to give myself a new life in the league.”

Knicks Sign Reggie Bullock To Reworked Deal

11:35am: The Knicks have officially announced their new deal with Bullock.

9:43am: The Knicks and free agent shooting guard Reggie Bullock have finalized a new contract agreement after an earlier deal fell through, agent David Bauman tells Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). Bullock confirmed the news himself today, tweeting, “Done deal!”

Bullock and the Knicks initially agreed to a two-year, $21MM contract with a second-year team option near the start of free agency. However, they reworked that deal after “unanticipated health issues” arose, as Charania notes.

According to Ian Begley of SNY.tv (Twitter link), Bullock’s new two-year contract will have a starting salary worth less than the $4.77MM room exception. The new deal will also have a second-year option, tweets Marc Berman of The New York Post.

“[The] Knicks were fantastic through this process,” Bauman told Begley.

A first-round pick in the 2013 draft, Bullock began his career with the Clippers and then the Suns, but didn’t hit his stride until a stint with Detroit that began in 2015.

Bullock averaged 11.3 PPG and shot 44.5% on three-pointers for the Pistons in 2017/18. Last season, the veteran split his time between the Pistons and Lakers as a result of a deadline trade, recording 12.1 PPG with a .377 3PT% in 63 total games.

While we don’t know the details of Bullock’s health issues, he has battled plantar fasciitis in the past. As a result of the extra cap room generated when his original deal was nixed, the Knicks were able to bring in Marcus Morris on a one-year, $15MM contract.

Bullock was the last player on our list of 2019’s top 50 free agents who had yet to agree to a new contract.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Knicks Sign Marcus Morris

JULY 16: Morris has officially signed with the Knicks, per NBA.com’s transactions log.

JULY 11: The Knicks have agreed to a one-year, $15MM deal with Marcus Morris, Shams Charania of The Athletic reports (Twitter link). Morris had previously come to an agreement with the Spurs but chose not to honor the verbal agreement.

San Antonio was planning on using its mid-level exception to sign Morris and turned its DeMarre Carroll acquisition into a sign-and-trade in order to accommodate Morris on a two-year deal worth approximately $19MM. The Spurs traded away Davis Bertans as part of the Carroll sign-and-trade.

“I had to make this decision based on the best situation for me and my family,” Morris said (via Charania). “This is no knock on the Spurs. I have respect for them.”

New York had the flexibility to add Morris after renegotiating its deal with Reggie Bullock. Bullock agreed to terms with the Knicks on a two-year, $21MM pact, but the franchise nixed that deal over health concerns. Ian Begley of SNY.tv tweets that New York plans to amend the agreement with Bullock.

Morris, who earned the No. 22 spot on our list of this offseason’s top 50 free agents, was the most notable name still on the board. The 29-year-old had a solid year in Boston as the Celtics’ primary starting forward in 2018/19, averaging 13.9 PPG, 6.1 RPG, and 1.5 APG with a .447/.375/.844 shooting line. He’ll join a Knicks frontcourt that also features newly-added veterans like Bobby Portis, Julius Randle, and Taj Gibson in addition to incumbent youngsters Mitchell Robinson and Kevin Knox.

The move to sign Morris exhausts New York’s cap room. The team has the room exception available to sign Bullock or another free agent.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Atlantic Notes: Knicks, Ennis, Durant, Nets

When Kelly Oubre struck a deal with the Suns late on Wednesday night, he represented the last of the players on our list of 2019’s top 50 free agents to reach a contract agreement with a team. However, two of those agreements are in flux.

As we previously relayed, Reggie Bullock and the Knicks are attempting to rework a two-year, $21MM deal that fell apart due to an issue with Bullock’s physical, and Marcus Morris is re-evaluating his two-year, $19MM deal with the Spurs now that New York may have cap room again.

As of Thursday morning, there’s still mutual interest between Bullock and the Knicks in finding a new deal that works, per Ian Begley of SNY.tv. Begley notes that a source told him earlier this week that the Knicks are hopeful of landing Morris, whose veteran presence and toughness intrigues the club. Steve Popper of Newsday adds (via Twitter) that he has heard from people inside and outside the Knicks’ organization who think that Morris will end up in New York.

As we wait for resolution on those two free agents, let’s round up a few more notes from around the Atlantic…

  • After agreeing to a new deal with the Sixers as a free agent, forward James Ennis expressed major confidence in the team’s outlook for 2019/20, as Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer tweets. “We had a good chance last year. Kawhi (Leonard) is gone. He went to the West,” Ennis said. “So we are going to walk to the Finals in the East.”
  • Kevin Durant initially “balked” at the idea of being signed-and-traded to the Nets straight up for D’Angelo Russell, sources tell Brian Windhorst of ESPN. As Windhorst explains, Durant didn’t believe it was a fair deal, presumably because he could have signed outright with Brooklyn using the team’s cap room. The Warriors ultimately ended up including a heavily protected first-rounder in the swap not just to satisfy the Nets, but to satisfy KD, says Windhorst.
  • Sources tell Brian Lewis of The New York Post that the Nets‘ newly-added star power could increase Barclays Center revenues by about $40MM through “increased sponsorships, merchandising, and ticket sales.”

Marcus Morris Reconsidering Spurs Deal, Eyeing Knicks

4:25pm: According to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, there’s still optimism that the Spurs and Morris will finalize their agreement. However, San Antonio has started reaching out to other free agent wings in case Morris decides to join the Knicks, sources tell Haynes.

Chris Mannix of SI.com tweets that Morris has been frustrated because he thought there would be a stronger market for his services. Since his Spurs offer has a second-year player option, he’d have the opportunity to return to free agency in 2020 no matter which team he chooses, but the Knicks’ reported offer would be worth significantly more over one year.

3:45pm: Free agent forward Marcus Morris, who agreed to a two-year deal with the Spurs on Sunday, is now reconsidering that agreement, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Marc J. Spears (Twitter link).

As Wojnarowski explains, the Knicks project to have extra cap space available now that they’re reworking their initial agreement with Reggie Bullock, and Morris is considering signing with New York.

Jabari Young of The Athletic adds (via Twitter) that the word at Las Vegas Summer League is that there’s a one-year, $15MM deal available to Morris with the Knicks. According to Young, the Spurs – who were on track to sign Morris to a two-year, $19MM deal – are in “real danger” of losing the veteran forward.

If Morris reneges on his commitment to San Antonio, it would be a tough blow for the team, which turned its signing of DeMarre Carroll into a sign-and-trade deal in order to make its mid-level exception available for Morris. The Spurs sent sharpshooting forward Davis Bertans to the Wizards in that sign-and-trade for Carroll.

Should Morris sign with the Knicks, San Antonio would still have its full $9.25MM mid-level exception available, but there probably aren’t any other unrestricted free agents left on the market that would be worth a full MLE commitment.

The Knicks, meanwhile, were said to have significant interest in Morris heading into free agency, but seemingly addressed their power forward position by signing Julius Randle, Bobby Portis, and Taj Gibson.

Signing Morris would add even more veteran depth to their frontcourt, and would presumably exhaust the team’s cap room. In that scenario, perhaps Bullock – who is said to be working on a new deal with the Knicks – would fit into the room exception.

Morris, 29, had a solid year in Boston as the Celtics’ primary starting forward, averaging 13.9 PPG, 6.1 RPG, and 1.5 APG with a .447/.375/.844 shooting line.

Knicks, Reggie Bullock Re-Working Initial Agreement

The Knicks and free agent shooting guard Reggie Bullock are “re-working” the two-year, $21MM contract (second-year non-guaranteed) that they agreed upon last week, sources tell ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link).

According to Wojnarowski, both sides are motivated to reach an agreement on a deal with new terms. However, agent David Bauman and the Knicks are re-evaluating Bullock’s fitness to play a full season in 2019/20.

Bullock was one of six veterans the Knicks agreed to sign in the early stages of free agency, but the team only officially completed deals with five of them on Monday, as we relayed late last night. Bullock was the exception, and now we have a better idea of why — while details are scarce so far, it sounds as if there was an issue with his physical.

If their agreement with Bullock falls through entirely, the Knicks’ cap room projection would increase to $14.8MM, tweets ESPN’s Bobby Marks. However, it sounds like there’s optimism that something will get done.

Appearing in 63 total games for the Pistons and Lakers last season, Bullock recorded 12.1 PPG with a .377 3PT% in 63 total games.

Knicks’ Deals With Portis, Gibson, Bullock, Ellington Include Second-Year Team Options

With the exception of Julius Randle, who agreed to a three-year contract, all of the veteran free agents who have agreed to sign with the Knicks so far are reportedly set to receive two-year deals. The structure of those contracts appeared to put New York on track to regain cap flexibility in 2021.

However, according to Bobby Marks of ESPN.com (via Twitter), the two-year deals for Bobby Portis, Taj Gibson, Reggie Bullock, and Wayne Ellington will all include second-year team options.

By not guaranteeing the second year on those contracts, the Knicks will be able to maintain cap flexibility for the 2020 offseason, bringing back any veterans who impress them and parting ways with those who don’t.

[RELATED: 2019 NBA Free Agent Tracker: Knicks’ Deals]

Although Randle’s contract runs an extra year, his deal will also reportedly feature a team option – or possible a modest partial guarantee – in its final season, according to reports.