Former Knicks shooting guard Reggie Bullock took a little dig at his former team’s prospects of improving upon last year’s 41-31 record during this weekend’s press conference, saying it was “a no-brainer’’ to leave New York for the Dallas Mavericks.
Bullock was the Knicks’ starting shooting guard this past season, defended the opponent’s top perimeter player and wound up averaging 10.9 points while shooting a terrific 41-percent from 3-point range. Bullock signed a mid-level exception deal for three years, $30.5 million.
“When I played against the Mavericks last year, I liked the way that they competed as a team,” Bullock said. “They got great players, so it was an easy, no-brainer for me. Being with the Knicks last year, we made it to the playoffs but I see [the Mavericks] as a team that’s taking that next step to be in the postseason.’’
There’s much debate on how much the Knicks actually will improve on their 41-31 clip. Las Vegas has them at an over-under of 42.5 wins — tied for eighth-most victories in the Eastern Conference.
After finishing tied fourth in the Eastern Conference last season, the Knicks will try to replace Bullock with Evan Fournier, who isn’t known for his defense. Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau called Bullock the team’s “unsung hero.” Julius Randle, who often found Bullock off double-teams, said Friday that Bullock will be deeply missed.
“When it comes to shooting the ball, that’s one thing that I pride myself on, and obviously guarding the other team’s best player, or guarding whoever when I’m in,” Bullock said. “I felt like that the skillset that I have was easy for me to be able to make this move to be able to come down and be around a great organization, a great city, and great fans and just bring my game here.”
Dallas owner Mark Cuban felt Bullock will be a better fit as a “3 and D’’ guy than Josh Richardson and form a good tandem with Luka Doncic. Bullock converted on 59 of 131 (45 percent) corner 3-point attempts last season and played in 65 of 72 games. Fournier played 42 games for Orlando and Boston.
The Knicks didn’t need to use cap space to re-sign Bullock as they had his early Bird rights. According to a source, Bullock would have considered the Knicks had they agreed beforehand to a package, but they asked him to wait. That was not happening.
The Knicks have upgraded offensively at point guard with Kemba Walker, but he only played 43 games last season because of an arthritic knee. Knicks president Leon Rose hasn’t talked to the media to discuss the Knicks’ offseason moves. The last time Rose spoke to the media was 13 months ago.
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