DALLAS — Reggie Bullock was dubbed the “unsung hero” of the Knicks’ rise to fourth last season and Tom Thibodeau was keen to bring him back, according to a source.
But as the free hand unfolded, team president Leon Rose dedicated cap space to two other wings — Evan Fournier and Alec Burks — paving the way for Bullock to sign with the Mavericks.
Bullock’s three-year, $30 million contract was certainly affordable, but the Knicks also spent on Derrick Rose and Nerlens Noel.
Given how the Knicks season has gone, it’s fair to question all of their decisions. Not only was Bullock a mainstay in the Knicks’ lineup last season, he also developed a relationship with Julius Randle on and off the field. Perhaps his presence could have built Randle up during his struggles and bouts of unhappiness this season.
Either way, Bullock, who takes on the Knicks Wednesday night in Dallas, was positive on the court. That has continued with the Mavericks, where he is logging big minutes for a 15-game club over .500.
“Reggie will help any team,” Thibodeau said. “That’s him. He is good at shooting; He distributes the ground for your best players. He’s a great defender and he has length. He’s a long wing. Wherever he was, he always helped the team. He’s a team-first guy, so he’s a good player. He’s been a good player in this league for a long time.”
Although Bullock’s place in the starting lineup was replaced by Fournier, Thibodeau drew the comparison to Burks, who plays more with the ball but is valued by the coach for his outside defence.
“I think those types of guys give your team a lot of heart and toughness and that’s something you can see on any team. When you have one wing that’s a main scorer, usually the other wing, there’s a defensive bias to that wing,” Thibodeau said. “You could start with Reggie. You could get him from the bank. And that’s the great value we have in Alec. Alec is built and wired the same way. You can start Alec. You can get him from the bank. You can play it in multiple positions. These guys are invaluable in today’s league, guys who can play two, three, four. In Alec’s case, he can also play the point. So now there’s more bounty for these guys than ever before.”
So was Thibodeau disappointed that Bullock wasn’t re-signed?
“I love Reggie. He’s a good player. When a man earns the right to a free hand, he has to do what he thinks is best for himself and his family,” said the coach. “I have a lot of respect for him, so I wasn’t disappointed. I know it’s part of the business. For a guy who behaves the way he does, it’s always nice when he gets good situations. So I think he was a big part of what happened last year and a byproduct of that, when something good like this happens everyone’s value goes up, so that’s the case. And then you have to decide what’s best for your business. He must decide what is best for him and his family. And hopefully you’ll find something, but it doesn’t always work that way. It’s part of the league.”
https://www.mercurynews.com/2022/03/09/letting-unsung-hero-reggie-bullock-walk-is-yet-another-knicks-what-if/ Letting ‘unsung hero’ Reggie Bullock walk is another what-if from the Knicks – The Mercury News