Someone check and see what Mike Muscala is doing, because it sounds like the Lakers might be getting the band back together. Marc Berman of The New York Post is reporting that the Philadelphia 76ers and Boston Celtics are hoping to add New York Knicks three-and-D wing Reggie Bullock in free agency, but those aren’t the only teams he writes will have interest.
After a disastrous first stint in Los Angeles — which to be fair, wasn’t really Bullock’s fault — it sounds like the purple and gold may want to give things another go with their former theoretical sniper, who shot 41% with the Knicks last season:
The source said the Lakers, whom Bullock played for in 2018-19 alongside LeBron James, also have Bullock on their list. Interestingly, a report surfaced Wednesday the Lakers will try to lure Chris Paul back to Los Angeles. Paul and Bullock are both from North Carolina and are close.
When the Lakers originally acquired Bullock for Svi Mykhailiuk and a second-round pick, the team was looking to bolster it’s shooting for a playoff run that never came, with LeBron James’ groin injury limiting him down the stretch and the team eventually packing it in to wait out a trade for Anthony Davis.
Weirdly, Bullock actually shot better with James off the floor (38.2%) than when he played (32.3%), albeit on about half the attempts, according to NBA.com. Overall, Bullock shot 34.3% from three as a Laker, which was obviously not what the team was hoping for when they added him and Muscala at the 2019 trade deadline.
Even with all that said, this very site argued to keep Bullock at the time, and while the Danny Green addition that summer lessened that need then, Green’s absence this season showed the value of having a wing whose shooting opponents respect, and the gravity that can create. Bullock had a down year in 2019-20 that saw him play just 29 games amidst injuries, but he rebounded in a big way in 2020-21, serving as a big part of the Knicks’ unexpected success this season.
As a result, he’s expecting at least a decent salary from whatever team he plays for next, according to Berman:
Bullock’s preference is to stay with the Knicks, but he likely will command the full mid-level exception of $9.23 million. One source believes Bullock, who turned 30 in March, will seek a three-year deal.
The Lakers could theoretically get to that number, but only if they lose most of their own free agents. If they don’t, they will likely only have the $5.9 million taxpayer mid-level exception, as per Bobby Marks of ESPN’s always-thorough offseason guide ($$$).
Would that be enough to add Bullock? It sounds like no. But if the team goes another direction rather than running it back, and somehow gets below the tax, re-uniting with their former shooter and giving him a shot at redemption in Los Angeles could be a solid move for Los Angeles.