In the words of coach Tom Thibodeau, the Knicks are looking at the July 29 “Wings and Shooters” draft.
There is one player among them who performed brilliantly during his 41-31 season. But they can lose him to a division opponent in free agency if they don’t move, Post has learned.
According to an NBA source, Atlantic Division two squads, the Celtics and 76ers, are interested in Knicks swingman Reggie Bullock, who started the entire season as either shooting guard or short forward.
The source added that the Lakers, for whom Bullock played alongside LeBron James in 2018-19, also have Bullock on their list. Interestingly, in a report that surfaced on Wednesday, the Lakers will try to take Chris Paul back to Los Angeles. Paul and Bullock are both from North Carolina and are close.
Bullock’s priority is to stay with the Knicks, but will likely order a full mid-level exception of $9.23 million. A source believes Bullock, who turns 30 in March, wants a three-year deal.
The Knicks are always on the lookout for the next shiny new thing and will explore their free-agent options as well, but they have a keen interest in bringing Bullock back.
The Knicks don’t need to use their cap space to do this because they have early-bird rights to the bulls. Therefore, they may exceed the salary limit to sign that. The Knicks are eligible to offer him the first year starting at $10.3 million pending an audit of the NBA. This number is higher than the absolute mid-level exception. However, they must first reach the salary limit before making this offer.
One issue is that Bullock’s playoff performance was disappointing. In Game 3 in Atlanta, he went scoreless. But in the regular season, the bulls were tough as nails, and Thibodeau often referred to him as “our unsung hero.”
Bullock was one of three players this season to shoot at least 44 percent off the ground, 40 percent off 3-point land, and 90 percent off the free-throw line—a minimum of 100 3-point and 50 free-throw attempts. On the basis. Of the two others who did so, Stephen Curry and Kyrie Irving, Bullock had the best plus-minus.
Yet it’s that time of year to shop for the front office with its cap space. It is known that Thibodeau has a yen for former Raptors/Blazers shooting guard Norman Powell, who was out of his contract as expected. He’ll be seeking a deal closer to $20 million apiece — as will another winger on the Knicks radar, Kelly Oubrey.
If the Knicks lose Bullock, they will be more likely to attempt to match a modest offer to protect their banned free agent, Frank Natlikina. According to a league source, the Knicks are not ruling out bringing back their 2017 lottery pick chosen by Phil Jackson, even though Thibodeau barely played him last season.
Knicks still relishes his versatility as a point defender and a defensive specialist in the guarding wing, and he will be on display for Team France versus the US Olympic team on Sunday.