Reggie Bullock

Knicks Notes: Anthony, Robinson, Bullock, Predictions

Carmelo Anthony received a hero’s welcome as he returned to Madison Square Garden with the Trail Blazers last night, writes Tim Bontemps of ESPN. Anthony was cheered during pre-game introductions and every time he touched the ball. The cheers grew even louder when he scored, as the fans offered their thanks for his six and a half years of service to the Knicks.

“The love was definitely felt tonight,” Anthony said. “From the fans that were here, just the city as a whole, just being back. I think that feeling is kind of hard to explain. But for me to kind of get that ovation, I think I’ve always had the love from the city like that. But to be back in this building where I spent so many years, that love felt extremely good tonight.”

It was only Anthony’s second trip back to Garden since being traded in 2017, and he celebrated with a season-high 26 points. He admitted to reporters that he’d like to see the Knicks retire his number some day.

“I did glance up at the rafters today during the national anthem,” Anthony said. “You know, they say in life you’ve got to envision, so I was envisioning seeing Anthony hanging up there.”

There’s more from New York this morning:

  • The difference in the fan reactions to Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis may have something to do with the return the Knicks got for each player, suggests Marc Berman of The New York Post. While the Porzingis deal brought back Dennis Smith Jr. and a ton of cap room that failed to deliver a star, the package for Anthony included a second-round pick that turned into Mitchell Robinson. The second-year center delivered one of his best performances Wednesday, making all 11 of his shots from the field in a 22-point, eight-rebound night. “I honestly think he’s getting better and better and better,” Anthony said of Robinson. “I don’t really think he understands how good he is or how good he can be and his ceiling. The way he plays is perfect for the way the Knicks play.”
  • Reggie Bullock made his Knicks debut last night, giving the team five healthy shooting guards for the first time this season, Berman notes in a separate story. Playing his first game since spinal fusion surgery in July, Bullock scored 11 points in 15 minutes as Wayne Ellington and Allonzo Trier both remained on the bench.
  • Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic offers several Knicks predictions for 2020, including no first-round pick in exchange for Marcus Morris, roster moves to get rid of Ellington and Bobby Portis by the end of February, and no Mark Jackson or Masai Ujiri in the team’s future.

Reggie Bullock Ready To Make Knicks Debut

Swingman Reggie Bullock is expected to make his Knicks debut on Wednesday night, according to Peter Botte of the New York Post.

Bullock has been rehabbing from a cervical disk herniation, which required surgery in July shortly after he signed with the Knicks. Bullock recently revealed that the injury was something he simply woke up with one morning.

The injury cost him millions. Bullock originally agreed to a two-year, $21MM deal in free agency, then settled for a two-year, $8.2MM contract with the second year non-guaranteed after he failed a physical.

Bullock told New York-area reporters he just wants to look ahead and added he’s been treated well by the organization.

“I’m very excited. The injury is something that’s behind me,” he said. “I’m no longer talking about it anymore. I’m just focused on basketball and being back here with my team. The Knicks have done a great job of helping me out through the whole thing, with my family situations and everything.’

Knicks interim coach Mike Miller hinted that he’ll throw Bullock right into the rotation.

His abilities I think will impact both sides of the ball,” he said. “With what we’ve seen when he’s been out here, No. 1 he’s a high basketball IQ guy. He’s a good defender. He adds more length. He’s a versatile defender. He has good awareness off the ball. And then the offensive stuff.”

Bullock, 28, is a 39.2% career 3-point shooter. He appeared in a combined 63 games with Detroit and the Los Angeles Lakers last season before he became an unrestricted free agent.

Atlantic Notes: Thomas, Irving, Temple, Bullock, Burke

Wizards guard and former Celtic Isaiah Thomas believes that Kyrie Irving may not have been cut out to be the Celtics’ leader, Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News reports.

“That’s just like Boston and New York. You have to have a different type of skin to be able to succeed there,” Thomas said when asked about Irving. “They won 17 championships. They have 30 jerseys retired. So it’s expectations like you can do great but we need better and it’s always been like that. The media attention of putting on a Celtics jersey, a Knicks jersey, a Lakers jersey, those legendary teams and franchises, it’s just a little different.”

We have more from around the Eastern Conference:

  • Garrett Temple got off to a hot start with the Nets but he’s cooled off considerably while playing big minutes due to injuries, Brian Lewis of the New York Post notes. In his past five games heading into Monday’s action, Temple was shooting 26.6% overall and 24.3% from deep. “Yeah, I’ve got to figure out a way to get out of this slump,” Temple said. “I’ve got to make shots for us to keep the defense honest, but also just to offensively help us have more balance.” The Nets hold a $5MM option on Temple’s contract for next season.
  • Knicks guard Reggie Bullock‘s neck injury did not occur while playing, Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic reports. Bullock, who is close to returning for the Knicks after offseason surgery for cervical disk herniation, said the injury came as a surprise to him. “I didn’t get hurt in an actual game or anything,” Bullock said. “It was just something that I woke up with.” The injury cost him millions. Bullock originally agreed to a two-year, $21MM deal in free agency, then settled for a two-year, $8.2MM contract with the second year non-guaranteed.
  • Sixers point guard Trey Burke believes he can play effectively with floor leader Ben Simmons, as he told the team’s website. “I think [Ben and I] play off each other pretty well,” he said. “I think I could play the two out there, and give (Josh Richardson) a break, and still be in the game with Ben.” Burke is on a one-year, $2MM contract that doesn’t fully guaranteed unless he remains on the roster through January 10.

Knicks Notes: Trade Rumors, Bullock, Ellington, Smith Jr.

Another rocky start in New York has led several Knicks to begin seeking a way out, according to Ian Begley of SNY.tv. Sources tell Begley a few players have said privately that they hope to be dealt before the February 6 trade deadline arrives.

That was always a danger for a team that signed so many players to short-term contracts this summer. Of the seven free agents who came to New York, only Julius Randle has any money guaranteed beyond this season. Management has admitted that it prioritized roster flexibility and future cap room after missing out on its top targets in the free agent market.

Begley expects the team to explore trading options on everyone except rookie guard RJ Barrett and possibly second-year center Mitchell Robinson. He notes that several teams, including the Timberwolves, have expressed interest in Dennis Smith Jr.

There’s more from New York:

  • Two much-needed shooters are expected back in the lineup soon, Begley adds in the same story. Reggie Bullock practiced yesterday with the Knicks’ G League team and is close to making his season debut after having cervical disc herniation surgery in July. Wayne Ellington, who has missed the past 10 games with an Achilles issue, may be ready for Saturday’s game at Washington.
  • Efforts to trade Smith will be complicated by an oblique injury that could sideline him for several games, writes Marc Berman of The New York Post. Smith started feeling discomfort during an extra workout after playing just seven minutes Monday. There’s no word on how much time he might miss with the injury, which is more common among baseball players. “He pulled something in his oblique while he was playing,’’ interim coach Mike Miller said. “It wasn’t a collision. It was just some kind of movement when he did something, it pulled something. … He’s been testing it and going through treatment as best he can. We’ll just have to see day-to-day how he feels.”
  • Robinson credits an agreement he made with former coach David Fizdale for turning his season around, relays Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic. Any time Robinson commits a reach-in foul during a game, he has to run laps during practice as punishment. “Who wants to keep running all day in practice?” Robinson said. “Why not jump vertical? It worked out pretty great.”

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 12/26/19

Here are Thursday’s G League assignments and recalls from around the NBA:

  • Thomas Bryant, who has been sidelined since December 1 with a foot injury, was assigned to and then recalled from the Capital City Go-Go by the Wizards today, tweets Candace Buckner of The Washington Post. Bryant apparently participated in a practice with Washington’s G League affiliate.
  • The Knicks assigned veteran swingman Reggie Bullock to the G League, where he practiced with the Westchester Knicks, according to the club (Twitter link). Bullock, who underwent surgery in July for a cervical disc herniation, is nearing his regular season debut.
  • The Bucks assigned big man Dragan Bender to their G League affiliate, the team announced (via Twitter). Bender, who has averaged 20.2 PPG in six NBAGL contests this season, will be active for the Wisconsin Herd on Friday when the club faces Lakeland.

Knicks Notes: Payton, Miller, Bullock

Elfrid Payton is finally healthy again after battling hamstring woes and the point guard is impressing during his first season with the Knicks.

“He’s played so well. He’s had such a good command,” coach Mike Miller said (via Peter Botte of the New York Post. “I think I might have said this [Wednesday] and the day before, but he’s helping his teammates a lot.”

Here’s more from New York:

  • Payton started in three of the Knicks’ first four games before going down with his injury. Former coach David Fizdale believed Payton could be a difference-maker for the club, as Taj Gibson explains. “Fiz always said [Payton is] the type of guy who thinks when he plays the game and he can be a coach one day,” Gibson said (via Botte in the same piece). “It’s good to have him out there. He’s still getting a little bit of rust off him, but he’s one of those guards that you want to have on your side.”
  • The Knicks interviewed four of their assistants after firing Fizdale, Marc Berman of the New York Post relays. The team ended up selecting Miller because of his stoic personality and previous coaching experience, Berman adds.
  • Reggie Bullock, who signed with the Knicks this offseason, is nearing a return, as Botte passes along in a separate article. “To see that I’ve made up so much time over the time and worked hard to be able to get back out here, to be able to play with my guys playing with the Knicks. It was a long journey but I’m right here almost at the finish line so just continue to keep pushing,” Bullock said.

Atlantic Notes: Bullock, Fall, Raptors, Chandler

Reggie Bullock, who underwent surgery in July for a cervical disc herniation, appears to be inching closer to making his debut for the Knicks. According to the team (Twitter link), Bullock has been cleared for full participation in practices, beginning on Wednesday.

Bullock initially signed a two-year, $21MM contract with the Knicks in free agency, but when his health issue arose, the two sides renegotiated a two-year deal worth $8.2MM, with only one fully guaranteed year. At that price, Bullock could be a bargain for New York – or a valuable asset at the trade deadline – if he proves he’s healthy and back to his old self.

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • With Robert Williams and Vincent Poirier sidelined, the Celtics will call up two-way player Tacko Fall for at least their next couple games, per Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald. “We’ll just play it by ear, but he’ll be in Dallas and back home after Dallas for our game on Friday (vs. the Pistons),” president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said. “Then we’ll just take it week by week and see what’s happening.”
  • The Raptors have exceeded expectations so far this season and have an impressive 18-8 record, but they still rank just fifth in the Eastern Conference. With that in mind, Blake Murphy of The Athletic explores whether Toronto is more likely to be a buyer or seller at the trade deadline. As Murphy observes, standing pat or some combination of buying and selling are also viable possibilities for the Raps.
  • Wilson Chandler played more than expected in his Nets debut on Sunday, contributing two points and seven rebounds in 19 minutes of action. For his part, Chandler said he was just happy to be back on the court after serving a 25-game suspension, as Greg Joyce of The New York Post writes. “Every single game, it was kind of like dreadful,” Chandler said of his suspension. “… They could have cut me at any time. I thought about it a couple times.”

NBA Trade Candidate Watch: Atlantic Division

Over the course of the 2019/20 NBA season, up until February’s trade deadline, we’re keeping an eye on potential trade candidates from around the NBA, monitoring their value and exploring the likelihood that they’ll be moved. Each of these looks at possible trade candidates focuses on a specific division, as we zero in on three players from that division.

Typically, each installment in our Trade Candidate series focuses on a single division and then identifies players from three separate teams as possible trade candidates. However, a number of Atlantic clubs don’t yet have any obvious candidates to be dealt, so today we’re focusing on a single Atlantic roster that does feature plenty of potential trade targets: New York’s.

Here are three Knicks players who could emerge as trade candidates prior to February’s deadline:

Wayne Ellington, SG
New York Knicks
$8MM cap hit; $1MM partial guarantee on $8MM cap hit in 2020/21

A career 37.8% three-point shooter, Ellington was a full-time starter for the Pistons down the stretch last season and averaged 32.8 minutes per game in the playoffs. This season, he’s playing just 13.4 MPG for the lottery-bound Knicks and has received a handful of DNPs.

The Knicks have a crowded rotation, and it’s hard to argue that they shouldn’t be prioritizing young players like RJ Barrett, Damyean Dotson, and Allonzo Trier more than Ellington, especially since the veteran sharpshooter has slumped to start the season. But Ellington, who will turn 32 next Friday, should get hot at some point, and will have more value to a playoff team than he will as a bench player in New York.

Ellington’s contract is team-friendly — a trade partner would only have to send out about $4.52MM in outgoing salary to match his $8MM cap hit, and he could easily be waived in the offseason with a minimal impact on a club’s 2020/21 cap if he doesn’t work out.

Reggie Bullock, SG
New York Knicks
$4MM cap hit; $1MM partial guarantee on $4.2MM cap hit in 2020/21

If the Knicks can’t find regular minutes for Ellington, it seems unlikely that they’ll be there for Bullock once he eventually gets healthy. Bullock provides a similar skill set, including a 39.2% career three-point mark, and has a similar contract structure, at half the price, which should make him an appealing target for a contender in need of shooting.

However, the big question surrounding Bullock is his health. The surgery he underwent in July for a cervical disc herniation is no joke, and it’s unclear when he might be able to get back on the court. Last we heard, he’ll be re-evaluated by the Knicks in early December.

If Bullock can get healthy and gets enough playing time before February 6 to rebuild his value, the Knicks will have to determine whether to shop him or to potentially look toward keeping him for a second year at an affordable price.

Taj Gibson, F/C
New York Knicks
$9MM cap hit; $1MM partial guarantee on $9.45MM cap hit in 2020/21

Outside of Barrett, Mitchell Robinson, and maybe one or two other players, the Knicks will probably be willing to discuss just about anyone as the trade deadline nears.

Still, Gibson is among the club’s most logical trade candidates because he’s the sort of veteran whom a playoff team can slot into its rotation without having to worry about getting him a ton of touches or having him adjust to new a scheme. The 34-year-old is in his 11th NBA season and is playing for his fourth team, so he’ll be a quick learner. And you’d be acquiring him for his defense, rebounding, and toughness — not his offense.

Unfortunately, at $9MM, Gibson isn’t really a bargain, so it may be difficult for the Knicks to extract much of value for him. If they’re willing to take on some guaranteed 2020/21 money, that would open up their options.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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, $8.2MM 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.