The Los Angeles Lakers desperately needed more consistent shooting. Reggie Bullock of the Detroit Pistons is currently shooting 38.4 percent from three, so technically speaking, this counts. But good lord does it cost a fan base that is coming off the worst loss of the season dearly — as Svi Mykhailiuk is likely heading to Detroit.
(Update the Lakers made the trade official on Wednesday, although Bullock will not play until Sunday against the Philadelphia 76ers at the earliest, according to Dave McMenamin of ESPN)
Frank Isola of the Athletic was the first to report that the Lakers were “close” to a deal, and subsequent reports make it sound like a second-round pick will be going to the Pistons with Mykhailiuk:
The Los Angles Lakers are poised to make a trade...just not that trade. According to a league source, Lakers are close to acquiring Reggie Bullock from the Pistons for Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk.— Frank Isola (@TheFrankIsola) February 6, 2019
Can confirm from sources: Lakers have agreed in principle to acquire Reggie Bullock from Detroit for rookie Svi Mykhailiuk. Deal to be completed Wednesday. Lakers like Bullock because of his shooting.— Brad Turner (@BA_Turner) February 6, 2019
The second-round pick is for 2021, according to league source. https://t.co/m5FCtxCstp— James Edwards III (@JLEdwardsIII) February 6, 2019
This isn’t the first signal of the Lakers’ interest in Bullock, as they were reported to have been sniffing around over the weekend.
Bullock meets all the important qualifications for trade targets heading into the deadline: He can shoot (45 percent on corner 3-pointers). He’s cheap. His contract expires at the end of the season. This was always a very natural fit.
What hurts somewhat is that it costs the Lakers giving up a fairly promising rookie who does a lot of the things that will always be valuable in the modern NBA. With that said, though, the Lakers need more predictable production, and Svi simply has not been that this year, shooting just 33.9 percent from behind the arc.
It’s going to be interesting to see how Walton handles the rotation with Bullock now joins a group of wings all looking for minutes. He’ll have to contend with Josh Hart, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram, Lance Stephenson and that LeBron James guy for a consistent role on the team. James is obviously going to get his, and as will Ingram and Kuzma. Hart, Bullock, Stephenson and Caldwell-Pope will likely have to compete with each other for whatever is left — assuming all of them are still around after the trade deadline, of course.
Now, Caldwell-Pope has been rumored to be in trade talks elsewhere as Rich Paul tries to find a situation where he can have more consistent minutes than he has right now. Adding another veteran to the Lakers’ wing group might make things even more cramped for Caldwell-Pope.
The Lakers have a day and some change now to either make that work for Caldwell-Pope or pull off a larger trade (hi, Anthony Davis). We’ll see how things go on both those fronts, but expect some fireworks.