Bullock, now with the Mavericks, spent two seasons with the Knicks and fans remember him most for the second, in 2020-21. That year, Bullock posted 10.9 points per game and shot 41% from three. He only posted a modest defensive box plus/minus (DBPM) of 0.8, but the effort was there.
Bullock then signed with Dallas for three years and $30 million. Fast forward to today, and he might be headed back to the Big Apple.
Per longtime NBA insider Marc Stein on his Substack, the Knicks have “redoubled their efforts” to trade Cam Reddish. On top of Dallas, they’ve reportedly spoken to both Milwaukee and the Lakers and seek second-round draft picks. And if it’s Dallas, Stein reports the Knicks want Bullock back.
This deal makes perfect sense for both parties. Bullock has been good for Dallas, but not great. He’s been average from three, making a respectable 35.3% of his shots. The money is manageable too. Reddish is a restricted free agent. By comparison, Bullock’s contract isn’t fully guaranteed for next year.
And in Bullock, the Knicks get some desperately needed bench scoring. Usual three-point threat Immanuel Quickley hasn’t been as reliable this season, making less than a third of his shots. This isn’t to say Bullock comes back to New York and immediately starts shooting 40% again. IQ shouldn’t lose minutes either.
But having an extra weapon in Bullock both lengthens the rotation and adds consistency off the bench. Most important of all, he was a popular teammate as a Knick.
All this to say the Knicks really need another three-and-D behind starter Quentin Grimes. Grimes’ DBPM is about the same as Bullock’s, so Thibodeau wouldn’t lose the defense if he needs a rest. Bullock could probably also match Grimes’ 10.7 points with whatever scoring he adds off the bench.
The only real downside to adding Bullock is Deuce McBride would be the odd man out. He’s turned some heads with his defense and has a 1.4 DBPM, but he can’t score. At all. His getting minutes over both Derrick Rose and Evan Fournier tells us all we need to know.
Simply put, the Knicks need Bullock back and should prioritize dealing Reddish for him. New York is a streaky 25-20 and clinging to the No. 6 spot in the Eastern Conference. They trail Cleveland and the currently Kevin Durant-less Brooklyn Nets by three games. As things currently stand, that’s probably their ceiling if they can avoid falling into the playoff play-in tourney.
But with a player like Bullock, the Knicks’ offense would get a much-needed boost. He already knows how to play with this group and would have a real point guard in Jalen Brunson this time. Who’s to say New York also couldn’t leapfrog Cleveland or Brooklyn in the standings?
Bullock makes sense for the Knicks and the front office knows it. Forget the Bucks, Lakers and their second-round picks. This trade with Dallas for Bullock helps the team now and needs to be top priority as the Feb. 9 deadline looms.
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